Blood donation though encouraged is not for everyone, like those suffering from cough and flu.
People with a background of chronic diseases, asthma, diabetes, heart diseases, sickle cells, sinuses and someone on medication and of any form are not allowed to donate blood.
Women who have just completed their menstruation period also have to wait seven days after their period to donate blood. The body needs blood to help fight infections and boost immunity.
This is what Wafula Ogutu MP Bukhooli Central with a cold and Santa Alum MP Oyam South who is on medication discovered on Friday among others.
Lillian Nantambi, a blood donor recruiter with Nakasero blood bank, says they also have to consider the age of a blood donor. Blood donation is also limited to the age of 17 to 50 years for women and 17 to 55 years for men.
Health experts also explain that people with cancers such as breast, brain, prostate, and lung may donate blood five years after diagnosis or date of the last surgery, last chemotherapy or last radiation treatment. For blood cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma, a person is not allowed to donate blood.
People with non-melanoma skin cancer or a localised cancer that has not spread elsewhere, a person may give blood if the tumour has been removed and healing is complete.
It is estimated that about 100,000 Ugandans die of malaria every year. If a potential donor has had malaria they cannot donate blood for 12 months. Health experts say it is because the parasite that causes malaria can lay dormant in a person’s system for as long as a year.
Sentalo David, a laboratory technician with Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, however says for one who is on medication and insists on donating blood, they are tested first especially for those who have excess blood.
The process involves getting a drop blood through one’s finger, its out in a copper two suplhate solution to ascertain the iron content in the blood.
While having excess blood is advantageous, the negative effects include discomfort, dosing and severe headache with no cause because the body is full of blood thus the need for exercise.
Meanwhile the leader of the opposition in Parliament Nandala Mafabi organized a blood donation exercise at Parliament gardens on Friday in a bid to support the Uganda blood transfusion services. Nandala says he visited hospitals in Bugiri, Jinja, Tororo, Kawolo, Kamuli, Iganga, Busia Mbale, Bududa, Kumi and Soroti they all were facing blood shortages.
However, very few MPs turned up to donate.
Wafula who could not donate because of a cold suggests that government through the Blood bank should offer free hepatitis B vaccination that costs 150,000 shs to regular blood donors.
William Mugisha, the blood donor coordinator UBTS, says they are not fighting the recent blood shortage but to meet the annual target of 240 units of blood annually. Mugisha explains that the shelf life of blood is 35 days so they must collect blood since more hospitals need it.