NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 – “Kenyans ought to develop a blood donation culture,” Rose Shonko, the Project Coordinator with the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service says.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Thursday, Shonko said though they had adequate blood supply in their banks when the Westgate attack occurred there is need to ensure that the banks are regularly stocked.
“When the attack happened there was blood available in the bank (which) we distributed to all major hospitals like MP Shah, Kenyatta and Aga Khan. Unfortunately Kenyans are not aware that blood donation does not need a crisis or disaster to be conducted.”
“With the turnout that we have seen, we are encouraged by the numbers and we encourage Kenyans to do so thrice a year to be able to sustain our banks,” she said
As the blood donation drive comes to a close on Friday, Shonko expressed the need to create awareness towards the benefits of blood donation.
The six-day drive has seen 14,584 pints of blood collected countrywide something she terms as the highest number ever collected in the country in such a short period of time.
She applauded the donors saying that they should maintain the same culture.
“Blood donation points are usually at all major hospitals countrywide and in some towns we have placed them at bus terminals and town centres, places that people frequent,” said Shonko.
“Our banks require a total of 400,000 pints of blood annually and at the end of this drive we will start campaigns that will ensure that this number is achieved,” she added.
The blood drive that began on Sunday after the Westgate mall attack has brought together Kenyans and international community to donate blood for the hundreds of victims in hospitals.
Tanzanian High Commissioner to Kenya Batilda Salha Buriani on Tuesday joined Kenyans at the Uhuru Park grounds in the blood drive where she offered her support and that of her country as the country picked up the pieces following the Westgate attack.
Buriani who was accompanied by Tanzanians living in Kenya condemned the atrocities caused by the terrorists at the mall adding that through the immense support shown, it is clear that Africa is united as a continent.
“I was impressed by the Kenyan people at how they came out in large numbers to donate blood to their own and as Tanzania we also join them to show our solidarity,” said Buriani.
World Blood Donation day established in 2004 which is supposed to be marked on June 14 annually and is a rarely celebrated day in many countries with very few people even aware of its existence.
Studies have shown that a man can donate blood every three months while a woman can donate every four months.