Blood Transfusion Body Needs Shs1.8B to Avert Shortage

The Uganda Blood Transfusion Services is seeking for an additional 1.845 billion shillings to boost its capacity to sufficiently supply safe blood countrywide.

Dr Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, the Director UBTS, says in order to avail the targeted 242,000 units of safe blood this financial year 2013/2014 a total of 19.242 billion shillings is required. A safe unit of blood costs 79,800 shillings.

Out of the 17.39 billion shillings allocated to the Blood Bank, the National Medical Stores is supposed to take 6.169 billion to procure blood bags, blood bag labels, test kits and laboratory consumables.

In the financial year 2012/2013, 201,365 units of blood were collected against 242,000 units compared to 346,000 units recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Among the infrastructural development sections to lose due to the failure of an additional budgetary allocation include a well-built facility for Arua Regional Blood Bank and establishing a Regional Blood Bank in Moroto.

Dr Kyeyune notes the challenge with Moroto is that they still get blood directly from Nakasero blood bank and it is costly to transport blood to the area by air which is the only means.

Equipping and furnishing newly constructed Regional Blood Banks in Gulu and FortPortal districts and procure additional Blood Bank refrigerators to increase blood shortage capacity in all regional blood banks.

Others include replacing aging vehicles used for blood collection and constructing a centralized store at the headquarters to store blood and medical supplies

Currently Uganda has seven regional blood banks in Arua, Fort Portal, Gulu, Kitovu, Mbale, Mbarara and Nakasero. There are six collection centres in Hoima, Masaka, Kabale, Rukungiri, Jinja and Soroti and 20 mobile blood collection teams.

In support of the Millennium Development Goals 2, 4 and 6 blood is needed for reduction of child mortality since 50 percent of blood in Uganda is used for treating children with severe anemia largely due to malaria.

Nearly 50 percent of inpatient deaths among children under five are attributed to malaria induced anemia. Blood is also need for reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity since hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality which stands at 34 percent. 30 percent of blood treats pregnant women with anemia and complications of child birth.

The Uganda Blood Transfusion services states that 7 percent of young people are HIV positive yet 70 percent of blood is collected from students who could be reached with HIV prevention measures. This is because majority of the community at large is not positively responsive to donating blood compared to students.

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