PRESS STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTOR, KENYA NATIONAL BLOOD TRANSFUSION SERVICE DR. MARGARET ODUOR ON THE PLANNED EASTER SPECIAL BLOOD DRIVE IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNTRY BETWEEN 12TH TO 23ND APRIL 2014.
The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) was established in the year 2000 as a unit in the Ministry of Health. Its mandate is to recruit Donors collect, process and distribute blood and blood products to all transfusing hospitals in Kenya. The Unit has six regional blood transfusion centres namely Nairobi, Embu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa and 11 satellite stations including Voi, Malindi, Kitale, Machakos, Meru, Nyeri, Kisii, Garissa, Kakamega, Kericho, and Naivasha.
Blood collection in Kenya has faced low and high moments over the years as it depends on the availability of donors, who in our case the majority are students in schools and colleges. Over reliance on schools and colleges has therefore brought about perennial shortage of blood especially when these institutions go on recess in the months of April, August and December.
In the month of March 2012 we managed to collect a total of 14,040 units, the following month April it dropped to 9,633 units. In 2013 the same trend repeated itself as we collected 16,316 in March and in April it dropped by almost a half to 7,601. This trend clearly denotes that every time our catchment goes on recess we experience huge shortages as the demand is either constant or on the increase. This often puts us in extremely difficult situations thus exposing our beneficiaries who are the transfusing hospitals and the patients in perilous circumstance.
To forestall a situation that will always put us in the same predicament, the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service will hold the Easter Special Blood Drive in Nairobi and in all our Centres in the country between Saturday12th to Wednesday 23rd April 2014.
In Nairobi where the national blood drive will be, a total of three blood donation teams will be deployed with about 25 donation beds at KENCOM in the City Centre.
Similar activities will take place in our other regional centres in Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa and Embu and the satellite stations.
In Mombasa our teams will be at G4S offices on 17th Hatua Likoni on 18th, Redeemed church on 20th, and Ukunda Mlaleo Health center on 22nd and 23rd. In Eldoret our team will be at the Recruits Training School-Moi Barracks between the 12th and 14th April.
In Kisumu LIBLODA at RBTC Kisumu on 12th to 14th, town hall from 12th to 30th, Kenyatta sports ground, Central Square between 17th and 22nd April.
In Embu our teams will be at ASK Showground, mwea grounds, Embu Kwiremia, Embu College, Runyenjes Matatu terminus between 14th and 24th April.
The Nakuru Team will be at National Youth Service from 12th to 26th and Gilgil National Bank grounds from 14th to 25th.
These regions and satellites have in the last couple of weeks been holding blood donation camps in a bid to augment our national blood reserves.
On behalf of the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service, I would like to call on all Kenyans of between ages 16 and 65 to come forward and donate blood. This is perhaps the greatest gift you can give your brother, sister, father, mother, friend or neighbor during this season when Christians are marking the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During this period we are targeting to collect about 20,000 units of blood.
It is important to note that the demand for blood and blood products is on the increase owing to the increased incidents of road traffic injuries, terrorist attacks and maternal deliveries complications.
We therefore calls upon all Kenyans to demonstrate a sense of patriotism and concern for fellow countrymen who may be in need of blood by standing up to be counted as voluntary-non-remunerated regular blood donors.
In a bid to sustain blood supply in the country KNBTS will henceforth target the adult population and inculcate a culture of regular blood donation by among other strategies espousing the health benefits of donating blood to both the donor and the beneficiary.
Blood donation has a two – way benefit, it saves lives of the sick who are transfused and on the other hand, it enables the donor to develop fresh blood and increases the production of bone marrow. It is also scientifically proven that blood donation helps reduce the risk of cancer. Other benefits to the donor is that the donor gets a free health check and know his or her blood group .They are also able to know their Transfusable Transmittable Infections (TTI) status including, HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis since their blood is screened to ensure safety.
The World Health Organization (WHO) benchmark for blood sufficiency requires atleast 1% of a country’s population to donate blood once in a year, in Kenya assuming that we have 40 million eligible donors we need approximately 400,000 units to achieve optimal sufficiency level, last year 2013 we managed to collect 160,000 units.