By Nathan Atiluk
In response to Uganda’s nationwide blood shortage, Uganda Breweries Limited, as part of their 71 year anniversary celebrations held a blood drive to raise 71 pints of blood to save lives. The two days drive dubbed #71pintsAt71 was in cooperation with the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service under the 77 Days of Giving Blood Campaign.
The drive that was held at the brewery saw many staff willingly participate and donate to help save a life.
Demand for blood in Uganda
According to Uganda Blood Transfusion Service, Uganda’s blood collection stands at 7 whole blood units per 1,000 inhabitants which is below the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended rates of 10 whole blood units per 1,000 inhabitants or 1%.
Uganda needs 350,000 units of blood annually but can only raise between 270,000- 300,000 units every year, leaving an annual lethal deficit of between 50,000- 100,000 units, that needs to be bridged.
“Our purpose as Uganda Breweries is to Celebrate Life Everyday Everywhere. This drive allows us to give someone out there a chance to celebrate yet another day. We couldn’t have made 71 years if it wasn’t for the support of our community. We pledge to continue investing in improving the livelihoods of our communities as we can only thrive if they thrive.” said Rhona Arinaitwe, Uganda Breweries Communications Manager.
“With this drive, we have collected over 90 units of blood that were over and above our target which will go a long way in saving people’s lives.” Arinaitwe said.
Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, the Executive Director at Uganda Blood Transfusion commended Uganda Breweries for partnering with UBTS and mobilizing the blood donation drive.
“Blood cannot be manufactured. Ugandans need to develop a blood donating culture so we can be able to save as many lives as possible. A single unit of blood can go a long way in saving lives. Just one unit of blood can save up to 3 lives.”Dr Kyeyune said.
She urged corporate organisations to think beyond financial assistance during their Corporate Social Responsibilities and include activities like blood donation.
The 77DOGB campaign that commenced in April is aimed at collecting 400 units of blood daily, nationally over 77 days translating into 30,800 units of blood.