, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – The cooperatives movement has called on Kenyans of goodwill to join them in their annual two-day blood donation drive.
The drive, which kicked off on Saturday at the August Seventh Memorial Park is aimed at raising about 2,000 pints of blood to help bridge a rising deficit recorded every year.
Ushirika committee Chairman Japheth Magomere said the move would go a long way in saving lives in the country.
“Last year we raised about 1,000 pints, this year we want to double it, in a bid to save lives,” he said.
According to the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS), the country needs more than 400, 000 units of blood per year to fulfill various medical needs, but records a staggering shortfall of 150, 000 units.
The deficit is more profound during school sessions since students make up 80 percent of donations.
“It only takes an average of 15 minutes to donate one unit of blood and because the demand for blood transfusions doesn’t stop, we made this an annual campaign,” said Cooperative Alliance of Kenya Chief Executive, Daniel Marube.
Doctors say the timely availability of blood is an important component in efforts to save patients from unnecessary deaths.
Blood transfusions save lives, but many patients requiring transfusions do not have the much-needed access to safe blood.
KNBTS estimates that in Kenya, 2 out of every 3 units of blood are transfused to mothers and children.
However, Kenya has one of the highest maternal mortality rates worldwide at 488 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, which translates to about 20 women dying every day from childbirth-related complications.
The organisation also estimates that every 10 minutes, someone needs blood in Kenya.
“We know Kenyans respond very well to donating blood especially when there is a major accident or an event in the country, but remember we have our Kenyan people in hospitals who require blood on daily basis. We want to cultivate a culture amongst our members in cooperatives that its good to give blood and that when you donate blood you are saving a life without losing anything,” Marube added.
Kenya’s Co-operative Movement has mobilized savings to the tune of Sh600 billion, with an asset base of Sh816 billion and granted members loans to totalling Sh558 billion.
Saccos continue to be the best vehicle to intermediate between savings and investments in addition to encouraging their members to embrace a savings culture for economic development.