The Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS), together with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), kicked off a blood donation drive on Monday, June 19th, to collect over 3,000 units of rare blood types currently in high demand in hospitals.
UBTS has revealed that there is a rise in demand for rhesus-negative blood types.
According to Ambrose Mugume, the senior blood donor recruiter at UBTS, particularly O negative blood has been kept in reserve. A negative and AB negative blood are two examples of rhesus-negative blood, among others.
“We used to store this blood for emergencies, rhesus negative and we would reserve it in our refrigerators. But we recently announced that it is no longer possible to have anything in the refrigerator reserved for emergencies, like accidents. That is why we have managed to move out with our partner, NSSF, and we encourage others to join us so that we are able to recruit more of those Rhesus negative donors,” he said.
He said that in the past, most of the blood was used for malaria cases, but of late, most of the blood is tending to go for hemorrhage as a result of giving birth and several other surgical operations.
According to Arimi Barbra, the NSSF Head of Marketing & Corporate Affairs, the blood drive will last for three days, from June 19th to June 21st, and it will take place in Kampala, Hoima, Masaka, and Jinja.
She said that the target is to collect 3,000 units of blood during the drive, and they are focusing on rare blood types.
“We learned that there was a scarcity of the rare blood type, the negative rhesus, in hospitals, and we would therefore like to specifically scale up donors with that blood type within the next three days and beyond,” she said.
The NSSF has enabled UBTS to collect over 62,288 units of blood in the past ten years of the initiative, thus saving over 187,164 lives through the transfusion of safe blood.