, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – About Sh230 million is required to expand blood transfusion centres in Kenya to meet rising demand for the life fluid in the country’s blood bank.
Medical Services Permanent Secretary (PS) Professor James Ole Kiyiapi said on Thursday that negotiations were ongoing with the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to fund the project.
“We are going to work out the details. I just met the team from the United States and we have agreed that in the next couple of weeks we will sit down and discuss the issue,” said the PS.
Professor Ole Kiyiapi said the government wanted to create an additional four blood transfusion centres to the current six regional centres located in Nairobi, Embu, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru and another seven satellite centres.
“We also want to bring in additional staff; to train more people so that there is capacity in these places. They (PEPFAR) have agreed to support us to develop proper international standards facilities for pilot areas then we will scale it up with time,” he said.
Speaking at the opening of the 5th International Africa Society for Blood Transfusion, the PS noted that blood donation in the country remained low despite the huge need.
He said currently the country collected 120,000 units of blood annually against the required 200,000 units.
“But this deficit can be bridged if we first of all have systems of storage and screening and if we do campaigns. I think sometimes we don’t really want to do so much campaigning because if we don’t have the system of storing then there is a problem. And this is why we want in the next one year, to improve the system,” said Professor Ole Kiyiapi.
Out of the 120,000 units of blood collected, 9,600 units are discarded because of contamination with infections like HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis B, as well as poor storage.
According to the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion, a person has to be certified ‘of good health’ before they can donate blood. Also a blood donor needs to be between the age of 16 and 65 years weighing over 50 kilogrammes.
But anyone above 65 years and of good health can also donate.