• In most cases relatives are called upon to donate blood which sometimes is not enough.
• The drive aims at getting enough blood to last the county for six months
A blood donation drive has been launched in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua county to replenish the region's blood banks and save lives.
Health facilities in Nyandarua require between 40 and 50 pints of blood to cater to mothers giving birth and victims of accidents among other cases.
J.M. Kariuki Memorial Hospital's Evaline Macharia said in most cases relatives are called to donate blood which may not be enough.
“We have been having massive shortage even at the regional blood bank in Nakuru where we are supposed to collect blood,” she said.
The drive is organised by the Lions Club of Nyandarua, J.M. Kariuki Memorial Hospital, Red Cross in Nyandarua and the Nakuru Regional Blood Transfusion Centre. It began on Saturday at the ACK Hall Ol Kalou.
Macharia said they seek to get blood that can serve the county for six months and beyond. One pint of blood, she said, can cater for three patients.
The Nyandarua Lions Club president Peter Karanja said the first donation drive at ACK hall targeted 70 pints of blood. He thanked those who volunteered as by close of the day 77 pints were donated.
Karanja said the Lions Club acted after the government raised concerns about blood shortage in the country.
He said due to the Covid-19 outbreak, people have kept away from hospitals. Institutions of higher learning whose students donate more blood remain closed.
“But even with Covid – 19, mothers are giving birth, victims of accident and cancer patients among others require blood transfusion. Human life is very important hence this drive will continue even after Covid,” he said.
He said the drive will be escalated to other subcounties including Kinangop, Kipipiri, Ol Joro Orok, Ndaragwa and Mirangine to give many residents as possible a chance to donate.
“This first exercise is a big success and I most sincerely thank the youths who, even with schools closed, have taken a leading role in donations,” he said.
He said the blood is not for sale and those sceptical following past claims have no reason to worry. He said the exercise is for the general good of those in need of help.
Lilly Beatrice from Kenya Blood Transfusion Services, Nakuru region, said there is a dire need for blood all over the country. She said Nyandarua drive will go a long way in saving many lives.
“When the call comes, blood can be sent to any part of the world. During the August 1998 bomb blast, blood came from outside the country,” she said
Beatrice urged Kenyans to volunteer to give blood freely when called upon to do so.
“Blood belongs to us all. We have been given freely and people should give it out freely. It is very healthy to do it,” she said.