In a bid to create more awareness and encourage voluntary blood donation, Global Blood Fund, an international charity is partnering with Sickle Cell Network Uganda in a sickle cell blood story contest.
The competition that was unveiled last week involves people sharing stories on how blood donation or blood transfusion has impacted them or those they love or care for.
“Your story and pictures will educate the world about what it is like to live with Sickle Cell Disease. This will help secure international support, encourage donation and ensure blood transfusion and therapies such as red cell exchange are made more available to those in need,” reads a statement by Global Blood Fund.
According to Ashraf Sebandeke from the Sickle Cell Network Uganda, availability of blood still remains a major challenge in the country and especially for people with sickle cell disease because these are more susceptible to anemia.
Over 80% of blood donors in Uganda are students and mainly from urban and peri-urban areas. This has largely contributed to frequent blood shortages across the country.
Currently the country collects only 240,000units of blood out of the required 346,346units representing just about 1% of the population.
Sebandeke who recently scooped an international sickle cell advocate of the year award (2015) explained that the lack of interest in blood donation could be attributed to the myths and misconceptions that surround the process.
“Some people think that it’s the size of a person that matters while others have branded blood transfusion officials as vampires out to suck out people’s blood for their own interests,” he said.
Through such competitions, Sebandeke said people will be able to share their experiences as a way of unmasking the innocent process meant to save lives.
The competition comes with a cash prize of $500(about sh1.6m) to the winning story.
To participate, log on to the Global Blood Fund website at yourbloodstory.org and click on current competitions.
-You must be someone with Sickle Cell Disease or have some strong connection with SCD through kinship, friendship or caring responsibility.
-Your story must be true and should include some aspect of the importance of blood in the narrative. It must be between 200–2,000 words.
-We expect most entries to come from Africa, but where you live is less important than the story you have to share.
-Stories must be submitted by the contest deadline of 30 September 2016.
-Photographs and other media can be included and are very much encouraged.
-First, second and third place winners will be awarded a monetary prize of 500/$350/$250 respectively. There will also be two special $125 prizes for standout young contestant (under 16) and standout health care professional, if not represented among the overall winners.