Blood bank Raises Concern Over dwindling Stocks

The Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) has raised concern over decreasing blood stocks which experts are now attributing to a high number of road traffic accidents and a surge in malaria.

Samuel Davis Wante, the Blood Collection Clinical Team lead at the Nakasero Blood Bank said the stocks they had stored to take them through this period when students, who are Uganda’s main donors are still away from schools in their holidays quickly got depleted as demand for blood starting increasing in late November.

As a result of this, Wante told URN that they have resolved to set up collection points in various crowded places including downtown Kampala and the often-populated Pentecostal churches.

Wante said his team had been given a target of collecting two hundred units of blood but had so far managed to raise only fifty units.

Prof. Richard Idro a Senior Pediatrician at Mulago hospital said the demand for blood increased with the surge in malaria cases where most of the children with severe malaria are reporting to hospitals with anemia requiring transfusion.

Idro said while UBTS tried to collect up to 80 percent of their 450,000 units annual target, boda boda injuries and other road traffic accidents have put a strain on the stocks.

“We have so many boda injuries, so many mass trauma in buses and other vehicles on the highways. We need to replenish the blood stocks urgently”, he said.

Wante said while generally, the biggest consumers of blood are people battling cancer, mothers with pregnancy-related problems or at delivery, and children with severe malaria and malnutrition, accident victims are also now ranking among the highest.

Over the years, the UBTS has been aiming to increase the number of consistent blood donors and has since started conducting campaigns to canvass blood in order to cater to the increased blood needs. But, the entity only has around 90,000 registered donors.

Wante said the culture of donation is still very low and very few are aware that they can walk into any of the blood banks across the country and donate.

According to Wante, a healthy woman can donate blood three times a year and a man, four times.

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