Bishop calls on public to donate blood amidst blood shortage in the country

By Sylvia Kugonza

people donating blood at a community health centre

People donating blood at a community health centre: File photo

KABAROLE: The Bishop of Rwenzori Diocese Rt. Rev. Reuben Kisembo Amooti has encouraged members of the public to embrace blood donation amidst blood shortage across major facilities in the country.

Currently Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital is experiencing blood shortage and the country at large putting the lives of patients at risk of dying.

According to Dr. James Ngobi the hospital director, the regional blood bank is in acute blood shortage amidst high demand from pneumonia, accident patients and expectant mothers.

He says there is low attitude among locals in the region towards blood donation.

Dr. Ngobi also explains that the regional blood bank no longer get assistance from Americans through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding thus remaining with only government’s little assistance to the facility which cannot facilitate communities towards blood donation.

Fort Portal regional blood bank requires 27,000 units of blood per year and at least 2000 per months to meet the growing demand for blood from patients but according to Dr. Ngobi, the hospital only collects 800 units a month.

While donating blood at Nyakasura School during the Church of Uganda
Rwenzori Diocese clergy and spouses retreat, Bishop Reuben used the function to call on the public to impress blood donation in order to save lives.

According Bishop Reuben, blood shortage is real across the country thus appealing to the people of Rwenzori to move away from the thinking that blood donation is only important to their relatives.

“Let’s save lives by donating blood without looking at who we are giving it out to because we are also victims of blood shortage in our bodies anytime your body may require blood as a result of accidents and other unexpected diseases like pneumonia and labor pain”, bishop Reuben appealed to the Christians.

The health ministry’s blood bank facility in the capital, Kampala, which stores and distributes supplies to hospitals, is practically empty. It has just 150 units of blood remaining, not enough to meet requirements on an average day in the city.

Nationally, Uganda needs at least 340,000 units of safe blood annually, but usually only collects 200,000 a year.

The minister of health in charge of general duties Sarah Opendi blames the blood shortage on the fact that schools which are their first source of blood are currently in holidays and the other members of the public are quite skeptical when it comes to donating blood. END

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