The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services has warned public hospital against the illegal sale of blood for transfusion.
KNBTS Director Josephine Githaiga said it is disturbing to see patients being forced to buy blood while it is meant to be free.
“Blood is supposed to be free because we acquire it free as well. All Kenyans should be able to access blood even at the crucial times when they need it,” she said.
Githaiga said some public hospitals are selling a pint of blood for between Sh 2,500 and Sh 3,000.
She said in some instances, patients in critical condition have to give bribes to health workers to obtain blood.
"Expectant mothers are the most exploited since they have to pay for the blood on admission. An adequate and reliable supply of safe blood can be assured by a stable base of regular, voluntary blood donors and we promote a blood donation culture,” she said.
The KNBTS in partnership with Barclays bank on Wednesday started a major blood donation drive dubbed '15-to-save-a-life'.
The initiative is scheduled to run between May 2 and 11 across the 30 KNBTS branches countrywide and aims to collect 1,000 units to the national blood bank.
According to KNBTS, the country needs more than 400,000 units of blood annually to fulfil various medical needs but currently, records fall short of 250,000 units.
Barclays Bank Managing Director Jeremy Awori said no Kenyan should risk death due to lack of blood.
“It only takes an average of 15 minutes to donate a unit of blood. The demand for blood transfusions doesn't stop and our aim is to make this an annual campaign,” he said.
While appealing to other corporate organizations to join in the campaign, Jeremy said their aim was to create a contagion effect that would see more organizations start similar initiatives and create a culture of blood donation among Kenyans.