CS: Seven Kenyans in dire need of blood every 10 minutes

Thursday, September 12th, 2019 00:00 |
Health CS Sicily Kariuki with the world highest blood donor Arjun Prasad Mainali at the Kenya National Archives grounds, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

The country is facing an acute shortage of blood with a record deficit of at least 900,000 units annually, Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki has revealed. 

Speaking at the Kenya National Archives grounds in Nairobi, during a blood donation campaign yesterday, Kariuki said seven patients face dire need of blood transfusion every 10 minutes.

“Blood is critical in saving lives. We should donate selflessly. We should make blood donation a lifestyle or habit,” she said during the event graced by the world highest blood donor Arjun Prasad Mainali.

“The country requires a million units of blood but we only collect 170,000 annually,” she said.

However, Kariuki said her ministry has come up with a strategy to address the shortfall. “We are coming up with a bill on blood donation, safety and transfusion and it is to be a focal point of Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” she said.

She added that the ministry is increasing centres of advocacy in collaboration with county governments from the current 27 to 40 during this financial year.

“From this month, we have started monthly blood donation in collaborating with county leaderships and it will go a long way in bridging the shortage,” she said.

Mainali said he has donated at least 86 litres of blood in the last 32 years. “Going by the World Health Organisation standards of one unit of blood saving three lives, my action of blood donation translates to saving the lives of at least 513 people,” he said.

He has traversed 16 countries and donated blood 172 times and reached millions of people globally with blood donation messages in his numerous crusades and campaigns.

“Out of the 171 donations, 123 of them are whole blood while 49 were platelets concentrates. Cumulatively I have donated a total of 85.5 litres of whole blood and platelets combined,” he said.

He said his effort is aimed at educating, advocating, encouraging, promoting and creating awareness among thousands of people about the importance of blood donation.

“I am a strong believer of humanitarian services and I want to contribute to establishment of a society that believes in social responsibility,” he said.

The country requires a million units of blood but only collects 170,000 annually.

  Ministry plans to increase centres of advocacy from the current 27 to 40 across the country during this financial year.

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