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UPDF recruits save the nation from blood crisis

By Francis Emorut

Added 14th January 2020 04:03 PM

According to the director of UTBS, Dr Dorothy Kyeyune, the country would have been plunged into a blood crisis as students, who are the major blood donors, are now on holiday.

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Emmanuel Atukwatse,a donor, donating blood druing a blood drive campaign at Constitutional Square in Kampala on Monday Jan 13, 2019. Attending to Atukwatse is Uganda Blood Transfusion Service health worker Rita Namwanga. Photo by Francis Emorut

According to the director of UTBS, Dr Dorothy Kyeyune, the country would have been plunged into a blood crisis as students, who are the major blood donors, are now on holiday.

 
BLOOD DONATION
 
To avert blood shortage in the country, Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS) had to turn to UPDF recruits for blood to save the nation.
 
A total of 4,000 people were required to join the armed forces in the country.
 
According to the director of UTBS, Dr Dorothy Kyeyune, the country would have been plunged into a blood crisis as students, who are the major blood donors, are now on holiday.
 
“We had to go to Kaweweta Military Training School, where the new recruits are undergoing training to get blood. This is how we were able to mitigate the situation,” Kyeyune revealed.
 
She said 8,000 units of blood were collected from the recruits in Nakaseke district.
 
 Kyeyune added that blood was also got from the Police.
 
The UBTS boss made the revelation after a press conference called to encourage Ugandans to donate blood to save lives at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in Kampala yesterday.
  
When the New Vision asked her to update the country about the looming blood crisis, she said 50 units of blood is required per day in every regional hospital in the country.
 
“If we do not have it, the patients will die. We need blood every day every minute and every second,” Kyeyune stated.
 
She said the nation cannot survive without blood and, therefore, blood must be donated by human beings.
 
Kyeyune noted that blood is needed for pregnant women who get complications during delivery and for anaemic and cancer patients, as well as accident victims.
 
She explained that the country has 25 teams, with each required to collect 50 units of blood every day. Failure to achieve it would lead to blood shortage.
 
However, the 8,000 blood units collected from the UPDF recruits and Police are only sufficient until the students,  who are the major donors, return to school.
 
“We do not want to collect a lot of since it blood expires within 35 days,” Kyeyune said.
 
She told journalists that the Uganda healthcare system uses about 1,500 units of blood daily, but her organisation is able to collect only 1,250 units daily of the required blood.
 
The NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba emphasised the need to end blood shortage in the healthcare system in the country.
 
“Given that blood is unique and cannot be manufactured, regular donations by unpaid blood donors remains the only source of sufficient, quality and safe blood,” he said.
 
Byarugaba said the blood drive campaign, which started yesterday, will last five days. The company aims at collecting 10,000 units of blood.
 
He outlined the blood donation centres as City Square, Clock Tower, Mukwano Arcade, Sekaziga House and Good Shade in Kampala.
 
Other places are Bwaise Roundabout, Workers House Lobby, William Street, Kikuyu Roundabout and Nateete at Samona building.
 
For upcountry centres, the exercise will be conducted in the districts of Lira, Alebtong, FortPortal town, Bududa and Nebbi.
 
During the press conference, the blood transfusion beneficiaries recounted their ordeal and how they survived death.
 
Evelyn Awor, 34, a Police officer stationed in Entebbe, had an ectopic pregnancy, which made her bleed excessively. She had a transfusion of 2 units of blood as a result.
 
Anne Ssempijja, 32, an engineer, bled after delivering a stillborn baby and was given 4 units of blood, while Alex Okello, 39, an assistant lecturer at Makerere University, had his 6-months-old baby saved from death due to an anaemic condition.
 
 

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