The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) will conduct a one-day national blood donation campaign aimed at increasing blood stocks so as to save lives and alleviate human suffering. The campaign, dubbed the ‘Valentines blood donation drive’ will be conducted in 22 blood donation sites across the country and will target adult blood donors of between the ages 18 and 65 years.
The campaign, whose theme is, “Show your love, donate blood” is expected to garner over 10, 000 units of blood and to reach over one million people with information on the importance of blood donation. All blood donors will receive a red rose that signifies love of life.
The Ag. Director of KNBTS Dr Josephine Githiga said Thursday that the initiative is aimed at providing a platform for Kenyans to demonstrate their love by giving blood, which is a priceless gift to someone they may never know or meet in their life time.
The campaign will take place simultaneously in Nairobi, Embu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa, Machakos, Kisii, Voi, Meru, Naivasha, Kericho, Nyeri, Garissa, Malindi, Thika, Lodwar, Bungoma, Migori, Busia, Narok and Kitale.
In Nairobi, the main event will be held on Valentine’s Day Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at KICC, COMESA grounds from 6.00am -10pm and will be open to the members of the public.
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“This campaign has been necessitated by the continuous need for blood in our health care facilities and the desire to ensure that Kenyans are secure in case they suffer illnesses that may require blood transfusion,” Dr Githaiga said.
A research conducted recently by the blood agency indicated that adult blood donors were more reliable and responsive than those in learning institutions. The government collected a total of 149, 642 units of blood last year, representing 83.1% of the annual target of 180, 000 units.
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The national requirement, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) standard, is 400,000 units, presupposing that if 1% of the entire population donated blood once in a year, the country is considered blood sufficient.
This scenario could be attributed to the poor blood donation culture among Kenyans and in some instances gross lack of awareness among potential donors. Dr Githaiga said that blood donation apathy among adult donors has resulted to low collections while the same segment of the population was the highest recipient.
“ KNBTS has adopted a strategy of using information, education and communication to create a culture of regular voluntary blood donation.”
In Kenya 2 of every 3 units of blood are transfused to mothers and children and it is unfortunate that the country has a relatively high maternal mortality ratio compared to the western world at 362 maternal deaths per 100, 000 live births, according to the Ministry of Health 2018, translating to about 20 women dying every day from child birth related complications.
Dr Githaiga says that demand for blood and its products is growing owing to the sporadic terror attacks, road traffic injuries, cancer diseases and anemia occasioned by malaria and other medical conditions. “This campaign therefore will attempt to mitigate the current scenario in an effort to offer Kenyans a more secure treatment and most importantly to save lives,” she added.
Meanwhile, the government is promoting repeat blood donation culture through Pledge25 Kenya Club where members commit to donate blood at least 25 times in their lifetime.