Kenyan blood ambassador, Aisha Mukami Dafalla has embarked on a campaign to popularize and mobilize the public on the need to make regular blood donations to save lives.
Dafalla who is aged 58 years old, hails from Kibera Nairobi and started donating blood at an early age of 17.
She has so far donated blood 69 times driven by a passion to save life regardless of their relationship, distance, race and religion, which she says, motivates her every moment of her life.
Speaking to KNA at Uchumi House, Dafalla said she is spearheading a programme to mobilize at least 100,000 Kenyans to be regular blood donors within a year.
Dafalla said her mission is to sensitize more Kenyans to be blood donors in order to enable the Country attain sustainable supply of safe and adequate blood in hospitals.
She will be working with the Ministries of Tourism and Devolution together with corporates to sensitize the public to attain her goal.
The blood ambassador said blood donation is a key step in saving lives adding that many innocent lives are lost every day in hospitals through lack of the precious commodity.
According to Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service, seven people in the country require blood in every 10 minutes. One pint of blood can save up to three or four people while three teaspoonfuls of blood can save a newborn’s life.
An individual can donate if they are aged between 16 and 65, and must weigh at least 50kgs.
“Make an effort of donating even if it is twice or once a year, to save someone’s life today because tomorrow is not guaranteed,’’ Aisha pleaded.
Her first experience of donating blood was when she was in high school, though she confesses she didn’t know the importance of the exercise, she did it willingly in exchange of food (bread and soda).
“My first time to donate happened when I was in Form-three. St. Johns Ambulance had visited our school for blood donation and they were giving out bread and soda and I think it is the snack that motivated me the first time, before I developed a passion of saving others. My parents were against it, because they did not know how important it was so I had to put a break to the exercise for five years until I had moved out of my parents’ house for employment that’s when I got the chance to resume my donation journey,’’ she explained.
Dafalla has scooped many awards for her selfless contribution in the country, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health appointed her as the Kenyan blood ambassador for January 2021 to December 2022 period. During Mashujaa Day celebrations in 2020, she was recognized as a heroine being the highest female blood donor.
She has also been awarded a certificate of recognition by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage for her work of saving and changing lives.
In 2019, Aisha had the opportunity to tour Rwanda on World Blood Donor Day, held yearly on June 14, and was surprised to see blood on shelves waiting for patients unlike here in Kenya where patients are in wards waiting for blood.
“One is allowed to donate from the age of 17 to 65, I had a target of donating 70 times and I believe I’m going to hit my target, and I can still continue donating like twice a year since I’m not yet over the age limit,’’ she said.
Aisha believes that lack of information makes people scared of donating blood.
She, therefore, founded Blood Donor Champion Network in 2021 to attain this objective.
By Jacob Rotich and Ondere Veronica