CS Health urges Kenyans to donate blood

Nairobi, KENYA Wednesday 11, 2019 – Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has urged Kenyans to cultivate a culture of donating blood regularly as the country accelerates efforts towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Speaking while launching a blood donor drive held in Nairobi, Mrs. Kariuki said the envisaged scale up of the UHC programme to the rest of the 43 counties will result in an increase in the number of patients accessing health facilities similar to what was witnessed during the ongoing pilot exercise in the four counties.
The CS health who was flagged by the world biggest blood donor Mr. Arjun Prasad Mainali and the highest blood donors in Kenya Mr. Alpha Sanya and Aisha Dafalla said “It’s paramount to ensure sustainability in the availability of blood and blood products in anticipation of the increased patient visits to facilities.”
A robust, sustainable blood system is a crucial component of every health care system. In Kenya the National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) plays a critical role in ensuring optimal blood services in the country thus contributing to UHC.
 The availability of safe blood and blood products is a prerequisite for various health care services. This includes surgeries, treatments for cancer and other acute and chronic medical conditions, trauma care, organ transplantation, and childbirth: all lifesaving procedures that require blood.
Currently, Mrs Kariuki observed, the country needs approximately 1000,000 units of blood annually.
“Last year the Kenya National Blood Transfusion service collected a total of 164,275 units of blood, which is significantly below the annual target as per World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations,”she said.
The CS added: “Whereas this much blood was collected, every 10 minutes about seven Kenyans need blood and are at the risk of dying from lack of blood.
According to the WHO, for Kenya to claim blood sufficiency, we need at least 1.5 – 2 per cent of Kenya’s population to donate blood every year.
Science shows that on average a healthy man can safely donate four times a year and a woman every three times a year, hence it is possible to meet the blood unit requirements if we pull together,”.
Currently KNBTS is serving over 500 transfusing hospitals nationally with blood and blood components to public, private and faith-based facilities.
The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service is working with stakeholders to address blood shortage and ensure sustainable supply of safe and adequate blood for transfusion.
“ KNBTS has stepped up capacity to guarantee blood safety from donor recruitment stage to blood administration at the transfusing facilities and l would, therefore, wish to assure Kenyans that the blood is safe,” the CS said.
In order to meet the gap in the number of required units, the Ministry will ensure sustainability is met through innovation, leveraging on technology and ensuring sufficient surge capacity to cope with emergencies, the CS said.