Increased malaria cases overwhelm Blood Bank as the country’s greatest donors [students] are off for school term holidays.
Preliminary reports from the Uganda Blood Bank indicate that out of an average number of Ugandans donating blood, about 60% of the blood collected is from students.
This has come at a time when a country has yet again started registering increasing numbers of malaria cases, barely two years after the conclusion of Long-Lasting Insectcidal Nets (LLIN) mass campaign, where a total of 26.5 million LLINs were distributed countrywide, with coverage rates of over 95% in all districts.
“There is an upsurge in malaria cases in 65 districts across Uganda, especially the north due to rains and ageing of mosquito nets. This has caused increased cases of anemia in the country,” laments Hon. Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, Minister of State for Health in charge of Primary Health Care.
The minister said that while launching the blood donation blood last Tuesday 27th, August 2019 in Kampala.
The Ministry of Health in partnership with Rotarian Malaria Partners are in a three- month blood donation drive, which is part of the National Malaria Response Plan to end current Malaria upserge in the country.
Dr. Kaducu further revealed that there is an increase in Malaria cases across the country, which is leaving the blood bank in a stretch due to increasing cases of anemia that come with acute malaria.
Why the stretch in the national Blood Bank?
Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune, from the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services disclosed that 65% of blood collected is consumed by malaria patients.
She further highlighted the need for the public to embrace the campaign since about 60% of blood collected is from students and now that schools are closed, there is a shortage in the amount of blood collection.
“Currently, there are 25,000 units of blood in the country – this is not enough. We are aiming at collecting 50,000 units by the end of November this year and urge the public to be part of this drive so there is enough blood.”
What should be done?
To emphasize the need, Solomon Ossiya Technical Lead for Rotarian Malaria Partners called out corporate agencies to lead by example.
” Uganda has one of the highest malaria prevalence in the world. So if you can sort out malaria in Uganda the you can do it anywhere in the world,” said Ossiya.
According to him, corporate organizations should be put to task to support the blood donation campaign. He further disclosed that it has always been students and people from public spaces donating the most blood accounting to over 70% of blood collected in Uganda. Corporate companies stand at 8%, the Securex organizations at 1%.
“They need to do more in form of logistics and any other support now that the country needs them,” emphasized Ossiya.
Status of the Blood Donors
The current stats from the Uganda Blood Bank indicate that 80% of blood received is given by students (60%), boda-boda cyclists and market vendors (20%). Corporates account for 8% of blood donated, Donor Clubs 1%, Open spaces 15%, Hospitals 1%, Trading Centres and Markets 5%, Religious Institutions 4%, Securex Organisations 1%, Assorted Organisations 1% and other Fixed Sites 4%.
During the Financial Year 2017/2018, Government with support from partners concluded the Long-Lasting Insectcidal Nets (LLIN) mass campaign where a total of 26.5 million LLINs were distributed countrywide, with coverage rates of over 95% in all districts.
Ministry of Health and partners continue to implement malaria reduction strategies like Indoor Residual Spraying and Larviciding. Malaria Indicator survey conducted in 2018 shows that; Malaria prevalence reduced from 52% in 2009 to 17% in 2018. Malaria deaths were also reduced from 10,500 to 3,000. Severe malaria cases reduced from 760,453 in 2013 to 457,229 in 2018. The stock outs of antimalarial commodities in the facilities reduced from 25% in 2010 to less than 1% in 2018. The percentage of households that own at least a net increased from 47% in 2006 to over 80% in 2018.
The proportion of pregnant women receiving two or more doses of fansider for prevention of malaria increased from 45% in 2014 to 72% in 2018.
The blood donation campaign seeks to boost blood collection by at least 15% and will target secondary school children, corporate organizations, government ministries, securex agencies and departments, key club members and the private sector.