As the world commemorates Valentine’s day, Tana River County government has organized a 14-day blood donation drive as a way to show love to patients in need of blood transfusion.
Acting County Secretary Mwanajuma Hiribae led staff to donate blood, and congratulated health workers working in the blood unit for their steadfastness and innovation to increase blood collection in the vast county.
“Every year, I donate blood to assist others in need of blood. Whoever is willing can visit the Hola Referral Hospital to donate,” said the Ag. County Secretary, adding they have conducted blood drive campaigns in schools, NYS camps, and involved Bodaboda riders.
“We strive to sensitize the public on the importance of blood donation,’’ she added.
“Today is an important day for those we love and we extend our love to our patients by donating blood to help them when they need it. A good number has turned up, it’s encouraging, and we thank those who volunteer,’’ said County Coordinator Blood Service Ms. Barke Salim.
However, the County is grappling with low blood iron levels among donors thus most who turned up are not eligible to donate.
“The big challenge in our community is that blood levels are very low; often when we go to the community we screen over 100 people and get less than 50 units. It’s not that they are not willing to donate, they are more willing but their blood is low because of their living conditions,” said Salim.
She urged development partners to work closely with the health department to encourage blood donation drives and to distribute assorted foodstuff to those affected by the ravaging drought.
She further revealed that the County is in the process of finalizing the construction of a blood bank. “We are at 19 percent as a county compared to other counties, we are still very low and we will need more blood once the blood bank starts to operate, we want to supply blood even to private hospitals,” she said.
Nassir Gatana, a Family Physician at the Hola Referral Hospital was among the first persons to donate blood to save lives.
“What made me donate are the challenges I face in my workplace. When patients need transfusions, we often have challenges in getting blood in our laboratories. So I thought it was good to come and donate blood and be an example to others,’’ said Dr. Gatana, encouraging residents to turn up in large numbers to donate blood.
Annette Chesire, a blood transfusion specialist said blood ought to be in hospital banks to save a life in case of emergencies and during dialysis sessions.
“It is important to donate blood so that the hospital waits for recipients rather than looking for donors when we have patients who need blood. The blood needs to be in the hospital because before it is given to the patient it must be screened to make sure it is okay,” said Chesire.
“In Tana River, we encounter crocodile injuries, some are trampled by elephants, and road accidents. If we get blood, it helps these patients,” she added.
By Sadik Hassan