ESSENTIAL SERVICE

ALOYS MICHAEL: Let's focus on improving blood transfusion services

Accessing blood is quite challenging especially when the situation is urgent

In Summary

•Improving health systems is the happiness of all, safe life means realizing potential hence progress.

•The citizens who are blood donors should be assured of their safety to encourage more donations and employ more health officers as a sigh of relief to our systems.

Kenyans donating blood during an exercise held by Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service in partnership with the coalition for blood Africa (CoBA) at Uhuru Park Nairobi in March.
Kenyans donating blood during an exercise held by Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service in partnership with the coalition for blood Africa (CoBA) at Uhuru Park Nairobi in March.
Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

Kenyans have over the years continued losing lives due to lack of compatible blood types from donors because the situations aren’t favourable to enhance processes.

It’s an untold story of people suffering especially the poor who can’t afford hospital bills and money to fund blood which is transmitted to the recipient who are in most cases helpless.

The incidents are what our founding fathers fought against and defined as the gigantic threat to human development. They include diseases, ignorance and poverty.

Essential services are not at the hands or close to the people.

Does it make sense for donors to contribute blood freely and at no charge only for patients to buy expensively when faced with health challenges? Accessing blood is quite challenging especially when the situation is urgent.

The patients have to wait for hours for blood to be brought from other distant health facilities and sometimes no blood, therefore, forcing family members to risk their lives because some may not be at the point recommended for blood donation.

Why do innocent Kenyans donate blood, which of course they expect to benefit fellow citizens, only to find out it was exported to other nations?

Is it a business to benefit selfish interested people at the expense of poor victims?

This is one of the reasons for the reduced amount of blood in our health centres. The blood donated doesn't benefit Kenyans who in most cases die while in need.

A recent report by one of the leading non-governmental organisation shows that privacy or confidentiality attached to donors are a key tool to encouraging more people to donate.

However, failure to recognise the importance of privacy discourages people from voluntarily donating blood with some fearing about their health statuses or some of the health officers who are prone to divulging the health status of an individual especially when they come from the same residential area.

It is the obligation of the Health ministry to ensure that officers adhere to codes of conduct and ethics that are aimed at safeguarding the privacy of donors and the integrity of the profession.

Inadequate or lack of proper screening of blood before channelling it into the body system of a patient is a challenge that our health sector must deal with.

Not all health centres have refrigerators to store blood neither do they have enough number of qualified personnel to span the process.

This, therefore, has geared the spread of sickle cell anaemia, HIV among other infections to a patient who was free from such viruses.

People still don’t have faith in blood transfusion services because the results are quite devastating as much as the life of an individual may be saved, here is another hell that he or she has to live with for the rest of their lives.

It’s worth recognising the importance of the Kenya Red Cross in the provision of blood to the government. Their unflinching support and readiness to respond to emergency issues such as road accidents, victims of wars and fire burns are very practical.

It emphasises the value of humanity in saving the lives of victims of circumstances that need these important services.

Sadly, the Red Cross is facing financial constraints in daily operations due to corruption and inadequate funding.

It is also quite devastating that despite their efforts to collect blood, hundreds of people are still dying because of failure to access blood and other services.

Improving health systems is the happiness of all, safe life means realising potential hence progress.

Counties need more funding in their health care to dispense services and most importantly equip health centres with necessary facilities that are aimed at ensuring safe blood transfusion.

The citizens who are blood donors should be assured of their safety to encourage more donations and employ more health officers as a sigh of relief to our systems.

Let’s save the lives of our fellow Kenyans despite the challenging social-economic situations that see most citizens refuse to offer blood because they don't have enough balanced diet to regain energy and lost blood.

Government should take responsibility through its Health ministry networks to ensure that donors health is also boosted through at least providing for a week, a balanced diet.

It should also have fruitful discussions with employers of organisations because sometimes potential and willing donors are held in jobs without the freedom to go out and do this act of kindness. Generosity and service in a microcosm.

Communication and Media technology student

Maseno University

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris