Sun. Sep 15th, 2019

Uganda:Blood bank stuck with blood despite scarcity in health centres

“We have blood in stock, but we cannot issue it because it has not been tested for HIV, hepatitis B and blood grouping,” says Kyeyune.
While many hospitals are crying with lack of blood, the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) is stuck with blood in its rooms.
Recently the blood bank has been carrying out drives to donate blood, institutions such as Police, NSSF and civil societies have responded and donated blood, unfortunately the blood cannot be used.
According to Dorothy Kyeyune, the Director of Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, before blood is used, it must be tested.
However, for the last two weeks, the blood bank has not had reagents to test the blood.
“It is not true that we do not have blood, we have blood in stock but we cannot issue it because it has not been tested for HIV, hepatitis B and blood grouping. our policy is that all blood must be tested before it is issued to hospitals,” noted Kyeyune.
Kyeyune explained that for the last two weeks, the blood bank had no necessary reagents to test the blood collected.
“We get reagents from National Medical Stores (NMS), if they do not supply us, we do not have any alternative to test blood. Blood is not like other drugs, if drugs run out of hospitals, patients can go and get some from pharmacies, but for blood, if it has run out, there is no alternative,” she said.
Kyeyune noted that the finance minister has written a commitment letter to NMS to get the reagents on credit from the supplier as soon as possible so that blood can be tested. She noted that people with blood group O are the most affected during this situation because O is a universal donor.
“Over 48% of Ugandans are blood group O, Blood group O is universal and it is usually the one which is used during emergency. With it, you do not need to check the patient’s blood to be issued because it is always used and people who belong to that blood group are always affected because it is always on demand,” noted Kyeyune.
Michael Mukundane, the principal Blood Donor Recruiter at Uganda Blood Transfusion Service called upon Ugandans to continue donating blood to help save lives.
“We still need more blood and we are calling upon everyone to donate blood. NMS has promised us that we shall have the reagents to test the available blood. It usually takes 45 minutes to test one unit of blood,” noted Mukundane.

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