By Our Reporter
The national blood bank has been boosted with 5,898 units of blood following a successful nationwide blood drive championed by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Equity Bank in partnership with Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS). This was in response to an appeal for safe blood in the country.
The drive was held in Kampala at the Constitutional Square, Workers House, Queens Way, Mukwano Arcade and at all NSSF branches in Kireka, Mukono, Kawempe, Bakuli, Bugolobi and Entebbe from January 8 – 13, 2018.Outside Kampala, it was carried out in Mbale, Mbarara, Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal, Jinja, Mukono, Kabale, Masaka at NSSF offices and selected places in the respective towns.
According to Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune, the Executive Director UBTS, the exercise was a success as many people heeded the call for blood and turned up in large numbers at the various collection points. “The support that we received from NSSF helped us take the message out of office and into the field through radio interviews, talk shows, and announcements. This helped drive the message on the benefits of blood further to potential donors hence the surplus,” he said.
Adding, “However, this is not enough because there’s still need for more blood given that the one we collect can only last 30 days after which it expires. On a daily basis, the country needs about 1,000 units. If we could get more of such campaigns that go outside the city, then we would be able to collect enough blood. We, therefore, appeal to more companies and individuals out there to continue turning up whenever we call upon them to donate.”
Now in its 8th year, the annual NSSF Blood Drive mobilizes blood donors countrywide, especially at this time when stocks of blood have greatly dropped at the Blood Bank due to a limited number of donors.
Richard Byarugaba, the Managing Director NSSF expressed his gratitude towards all those who responded to the call for blood donation.
“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all Ugandans who heeded this call and came out to help save lives. Together, we have surpassed our target of raising 4,500 units of blood in just 6 days. Without blood, hospitals around the country cannot carry out life-saving operations. It is, therefore, our responsibility as Ugandans to contribute to saving lives by giving blood hence this annual blood drive. This initiative is part of our Social Responsibility agenda which is premised on supporting vulnerable members of the community as well as improving their social well-being,” he said.
Blood is vital as it is used in surgeries, deliveries for expectant mothers and victims of accidents.
According to World Health Organization, (WHO), Uganda needs about 340,000 units of blood annually although less than 200,000 units are collected annually. It should be noted that only 1% of Uganda’s population that is eligible to donate blood regularly do so, causing blood shortages.
Blood donors can still donate at the national blood bank in Nakasero and at UBTS regional offices in Gulu, Arua, Fortportal, Mbale, Mbarara, Masaka.