Health body calls for a law to stop selling of blood

The Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS) wants a law to prevent staff of public and private health facilities from selling blood to the public.

Uganda needs 1200 units of blood daily,

Samuel Davis Wante, a Clinical Team Leader at Nakasero Blood Bank, said country needs 1200 units of blood daily, but the bank can only raise eighty percent of the same partly due to the said selling of blood.

We have heard in some circles that some people sell blood. If someone is selling you blood reach out to the nearest blood bank or the police and report them,” Wante said, adding that blood is free.

He asked parliament to enact a law to make the selling of blood an offence punishable under the law.

By giving the prohibition on the sale of blood the force of law, he added, those involved in such an illicit trade will not only be held responsible but shall be given pause.

Wante added that it is unethical to demand money from those who urgently need blood, it is also life threatening too.

To stave off the further sale of blood, Wante urged health facilities to create a separate budget to meet the costs involved in collecting blood from the Blood Bank instead of charging patients who desperately need the blood.

Wante was speaking about this issue at a blood donation drive organised by the Kampala Central Lions’ Club at Namirembe Hillside High School along Gayaza road.

He revealed that their target is to collect more than 450,000 units of blood annually as per the recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As he spoke about this target, Wante revealed that though blood donation had risen up from the sixty percent donated during the Covid-19 lockdown, there is still a very urgent need for blood collection.

He called upon stakeholders, such as politicians, civic bodies and cultural leaders, to the rally the masses towards more blood collection.

Wante said that this collection of blood will help counteract a number of challenges.

For example, he said, there is currently an outbreak of malaria among children in the districts of Namayingo, Bugiri, Aleptong, Iganga, Kaliro, Sironko and Katakwi.

These areas, he added, urgently require more blood.

What we are collecting is just enough but we expect to have a challenge next month when schools break off for holidays and Muslims start fasting,” added Wante.

In the context of Nakasero blood bank’s limited facilities, Wante revealed, his organisation would not be able to reach everyone.

He thus urged any donors or would be donors to donate blood by walking to the nearest blood bank to donate blood.

Wante said that such donation would surely help save a life, and improve the lives of pregnant mothers, mothers in labour, accident victims, sickle cell patients, cancer patients, anaemic children, persons pending various forms of surgery and other chronic complications.

People should appreciate that all blood groups are important and that we need to collect blood daily because donated blood only lasts 35 days, yet every day there are people in need of blood,” Wante explained.

In addition to Wante’s speech, the President of Kampala Central Lions’ Club, Omodo Mcmondo, said the Club will continue to partner with Nakasero Blood Bank and that they expect to collect more 80 – 100 units of blood from students of Namirembe Hillside High School and members of the Club.

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