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Rotary partners with Jazz artist to raise funds for Mengo Blood Ban

Rotary Uganda is looking to raise US$500,000 towards the equipping of the Rotary Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital. Funds from the concert, featuring jazz renowned saxophonist Kirk Whalum, will go towards purchasing equipment, which will enable the facility to test, process and pack safe blood, buy consumables and to also purchase a fully equipped mobile blood bank to transport blood safely. The concert dubbed ‘Kirk Whalum Live’ will take place on Thursday 7th March at Kampala Serena Hotel.

Kirk Whalum is an American jazz saxophonist and songwriter. He has recorded a series of well-received solo albums and film soundtracks, with music ranging from pop to R&B to smooth jazz. His musical accomplishments have earned him a total of 12 Grammy nominations. Whalum will visit and tour the Rotary Mengo Blood Bank during his Ugandan tour.

 The idea of constructing a Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital was born in 2013/2014 when a number of Rotary Clubs under the leadership of the then District Governor Emmanuel Katongole, set out to build a modern facility to complement the existing National Blood Bank in Nakasero.   The total cost of this project was US$ 1,103,000.

The construction of the 800sqm facility cost of US$ 856,000. This was funded by local initiatives including fundraising concerts, a Rotary Cancer run and donations from corporate entities, Rotarians and individual well-wishers. The sophisticated blood banking equipment and training of the specialized staff cost US$247,000, which was raised from Rotary Clubs both in Uganda and abroad through a Rotary grant.

The Rotary Blood Bank Bank was jointly opened by the then Rotary International President John F. Germ and the Right Prime Minister of Uganda Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. The facility is fully functional and employs 13 medical practitioners.  It operates under the supervision of Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS).

Since its establishment on 27th February 2017, approximately 9,647 units of blood have been collected in the Rotary Mengo Blood Bank.

Currently, the Rotary Blood Bank cannot process blood because it lacks the capacity to test for infections. Additionally, it cannot separate blood into components. The collected blood is stored and sent to at Uganda Blood Transfusion Services for processing and this causes blood shortage in the country due to lack of the processing requirement. Furthermore, there is shortage of consumables like blood bags and blood donation sets, which limit the blood donations from the public.

According to World Health Organization standards (WHO), Uganda needs at least 350,000 units of safe blood annually yet only 250,000 units of blood are collected. This leaves a deficit of approximately 100,000 units of blood annually. This critical blood shortage affects services and puts patients’ lives at risk.

Tickets will cost Ushs 200,00 per head and Ushs 5 million for a Corporate table. 

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