The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in partnership with Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) launched a week-long countrywide blood donation drive aimed at collecting 3,000 units of safe blood.
The Annual NSSF Blood Donation Drive is organized to increase the stock of blood that can be accessed by patients in the country. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Uganda needs about 340,000 units of blood annually although approximately 200,000units are collected annually.
Launching the drive in Kampala, Richard Byarugaba, the Managing Director at NSSF, said; “This year we have extended this drive to 9 towns across the country in addition to the Kampala in response to an appeal by our partners, the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services due to a shortage of blood the country is experiencing”.
“I am glad that Ugandans are responding to our call and hopefully we can collect over 3,000 units of safe blood at the end of the week, he said.”
The drive will take place at the Constitutional Square, Mukwano Arcade and Workers House lobby in Kampala and at NSSF offices in Jinja, Hoima, Masaka, Mbale, Arua, Gulu, Fort Portal, Mbarara and Lira, as well other designated collection centres operated by UBTS.
“Over the past five years, NSSF and UBTS have collected more than 6,700 units from staff, members of the Fund and the general public. This is a noble exercise that I call upon all Ugandans to support,” added Byarugaba at the launch of the drive at Workers House in Kampala.
The drive is part of the Fund’s Corporate Social Responsibility agenda which is premised on playing an active role in the sustainable development and well-being of the community in which it is doing business.
Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, the Director UBTS, said the country needs 340,000 units, as recommended by the World Health Organisation to effectively supply all hospitals in the country.
“Last year we collected 247,711 units of blood from all initiatives which was still not enough to meet the demand. Initiatives like this organized by NSSF will give us the much-needed boost since our primary blood donors; the students are currently on holiday,” Dr. Kyeyune said.
UBTS has seven regional blood banks across the country with six collection centers to support them. Approximately 80% of the blood donated is collected from pupils and students whileonly 1% of people eligible to donate blood in Uganda regularly do so, which is inadequate to meet the country’s needs.
Uganda regularly faces a shortage of safe blood, forcing the government to issue blood donation appeals.Kampala, Gulu, Masaka and Mukono are some of the districts that are experiencing blood shortages, according to Dr. Kyeyune.
She added that the surge in the number of people suffering from cancer, those in need of surgeries and the rampant drought that has hit Uganda over the past year has created an increased demand for blood.