ONLY 40 UNITS AGAINST DEMAND OF 200

KNH getting only 20 per cent of required blood

Board chairman Nicholas Gumbo say hospital gets only 40 units of blood per day against a demand of 200 units

In Summary

Blood shortage has been reported countrywide since the President's Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (Pepfar) abruptly ended its support for blood transfusion in Kenya last year.

 

The Kenyatta National Hospital faces a shortage of 160 units of blood per day, authorities admitted on Monday.

KNH board chairman Nicholas Gumbo said they only get 40 units of blood per day against a demand of 200 units.

This constitutes just 20 per cent of the requirement for normal operations.

Gumbo said the situation was not unique to the national referral facility because the entire country has been experiencing a shortage of blood and blood products.

"The Ministry of Health issued a statement explaining the measures it is taking in availing the commodity in hospitals to avert the shortage," Gumbo said. 

He said KNH in partnership with the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services have been working to bridge the gap by conducting blood donation drives and mobilising donors.

Blood shortage has been reported countrywide since the President's Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (Pepfar) abruptly ended its support for blood transfusion in Kenya last year.

Pepfar lastly funded KNBTS at Sh2 billion for one year but exited when the government had not provided for the transfusion service in its budget for the 2019-20.

KNBTS aims to collect one million units of blood per year but last year, it collected just 164,000 units.

The service also needs money to conduct outreach camps and buy reagents, tubes or blood bags, the equipment needed for blood donation.

On Monday, KNH denied sending away cancer patients because the hospital lacks reagents to test blood. 

Gumbo said to avoid long and unnecessary stays in the wards, the hospital refers stable patients to a facility near one of the KNBTS satellites for blood top up on an outpatient basis.

"This is an arrangement that has worked well before for the hospital and the concerned patients," he said in response to claims by some patients that they were sent away because there was no blood.

He attributed blood shortage partly to the government's successful mobilisation of patients in the spirit of Universal Health Coverage.

"The hospital has been conducting capacity building outreaches through which patients who require specialised services are identified and referred for care hence increasing the demand for blood and blood products," Gumbo said. 

 

edited by peter obuya