We have supplied blood to all the hospitals in the country. Even our regional offices like Mbale and Gulu all have blood. So far, no one is complaining
A worker at Nakasero blood bank. Photo/File
KAMPALA - Following last week’s anxiety over shortage of blood in health facilities across the country, the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS), has announced that they have enough blood in their fridges ready to be issued.
Speaking to the New Vision, Michael Mukundane, the principal blood donor recruiter UBTS said that they are operating normally.
“Ever since National Medical Store (NMS) gave us testing reagents last week on Thursday, we have been operating normally. We have supplied blood to all the hospitals in the country. Even our regional offices like Mbale and Gulu all have blood. So far, no one is complaining,” said Mukundane.
When we visited the blood bank offices in Nakasero, we found ambulances and Ministry of Health bikes coming in to pick blood. The ambulances were from Uganda Heart Institute, RuthGaylord Hospital, Kiruddu Hospital and Victoria Medical Center.
Last week, Dr Dorothy Kyeyune Byabagaire, the executive director of the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, said that for the last two weeks, the blood bank had no necessary reagents to test the blood collected because National Medical Store (NMS) had no funds to procure the reagents from the supplier.
Dr Kyeyune explained that blood group O was the most affected during this period because O group is a universal donor.
“48% of Ugandans are blood group O and blood group O is universal donor, so it is usually the one which is used during emergency, with it you do not need to check the patient’s blood to be issued, because it is always on demand, people who belong to that blood group are always affected,” noted Kyeyune.
Information from the blood bank indicates that each unit of blood needs four reagents to be tested. The bank needs 25,000 units of blood each month and 300,000 units per year to meet the country’s demand. Last week NMS delivered only 30,000 reagent boxes.
Donated blood only lasts for 35 days while the platelets from blood last only 5 days, which implies that the blood bank must replenish its stock very frequently.
For one to qualify as a blood donor, you have to be above the age of 17 years, weigh more than 45 kilograms and be in good health.