UDB, ATC Uganda, Minet, and Mengo hospital launches blood donation drive

As published on Capital.Radio.co.ug on May 24th 2024

Mengo Hospital, American Tower Company Uganda, and Uganda Development Bank (UDB) have held a blood donation drive in Kampala to bolster the much-needed blood bank at Mengo Hospital.

Mengo Hospital and Minet, a reinsurance company are the technical partners in this initiative which is part of a broader effort to increase the availability of safe blood across the nation.

The drive successfully attracted employees from partner institutions and members of the public, all eager to contribute to this critical cause.

According to the World Health Organization’s Global Database on Blood Safety, a country should collect blood equivalent to at least 1% of its population. Uganda currently collects an estimated 300,000 liters of blood annually, which falls significantly short of the required amount. This ongoing deficit highlights the necessity for continuous blood donation efforts.

Speaking during the event, Ms. Dorothy Ssemanda, Chief Executive Officer of ATC Uganda, emphasized the importance of safe and sufficient blood supplies in saving lives.

“Blood donation is a selfless act that can save a child with severe anemia, a mother experiencing complications during childbirth, or a patient undergoing surgery. We are proud to partner with UDB to encourage voluntary, unpaid blood donations and make a positive impact,” she said.

Ms. Ssemanda also noted that the blood donation drive is one of several activities ATC Uganda is conducting during their Health and Fitness Week, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

On his part, the Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs at Uganda de Developmentank, Joshua Message, said that the bank is dedicated to supporting initiatives that improve health outcomes for Ugandans.

‘’This blood donation drive is a way for us to contribute to the national blood bank and support patients in need of transfusions. We as staff are enthusiastic about participating in this life-saving cause.” He stated.

According to the World Health Organization, Uganda needs 450,000 units of blood annually. However, it is collecting only 350,000 units.

Speaking to journalists during blood donation drive launch, Mr. Ariho Franco from Mengo Blood Bank highlighted who is eligible to donate blood.

‘’Anybody from 17 years to 50 years (females) and 60 years (males), very healthy (no disease) and weighing 50kgs and above is eligible to donate blood’’. He explained.

He noted that anyone who has been donating is given an extra five years to continue donating after the mandatory maximum age because their bodies can easily regenerate blood unlike those who haven’t been donating.

He explained that the country would always experience blood shortages whenever students go on holidays since they are the majority of blood donors because they are easy to mobilize and donate.