The government on Tuesday launched a blood donation drive aimed at boosting blood banks in the country as part of its commitment to ensure realization of the Universal Health Care (UHC).
The weeklong drive will be held from 11th to 13th September 2019 at the Kenya National Archives grounds, Nairobi.
This drive will see prominent individuals participate among them world’s highest blood donor, Arjun Prasad Mainali.
Speaking during the launch, the Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Sicily Kariuki said that the event is aimed at serving as a platform for education, advocacy, promotion and awareness creation among the Kenyan public on the importance of blood donation.
“All Kenyans are encouraged to turn up and participate in this very important event and donate blood to save another Kenyan’s life,” said Kariuki.
The CS added the event will further demystify the negative myths and beliefs associated with blood donation.
She added that Kenya is short of blood units since there are only 170,000 units of blood which is less than 20 percent of the globally required standard of one million units.
“We are here to confirm that we have a five point strategy which will ensure that we bridge this gap. We want to introduce a bill that will ensure blood donation issues are sorted out. We have a strategy that will ensure partnering with counties to increase the 26 blood transfusion satellites to 40,” said Kariuki.
The CS said that the Ministry of Health is planning to have monthly blood donation drives adding that they are hoping that Kenyans will join in helping to save lives.
The Award winning blood donor, Mainali said that he has so far donated blood 171 times and has reached millions of people globally with blood donation messages in his numerous crusades and blood donation campaigns.
Going by the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, one unit of blood saves three lives; Mainali has saved the lives of 513 people.
“I am humbled to be saving lives. What triggered me to do this is seeing people lose lives all because they do not have blood. I have been donating blood for the last 32 years. Out of the 171 donations I have made, 122 of them are whole blood while 49 were platelets concentrates. I have donated a total of 85.5 litres of whole blood and platelets combined,” explained Mainali.
In attendance was Kenya’s very own male highest blood donor, Alpha Kennedy Sanya and female, Aisha Dafalla. Sanya and Dafalla have donated 91 and 63 times respectively.
The week long blood donation event has been organized by the government through the Department of National Blood Transfusion, Tissue and Human Organ Transplant Service.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a