NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – This year’s national blood donation campaign drive has registered a significant decrease in the number of Kenyans willing to donate blood amid a sustained campaign by the government to replenish the country’s blood bank which is running out.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe launched the countrywide campaign on Wednesday and urged Kenyans to donate blood as an act of love noting that it would be a perfect gift especially during the valentine period.
The exercise however officially started on Friday and is expected to end on Sunday.
A spot check by Capital News at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park blood donation centre on Saturday revealed a rather drastic low turn out by Kenyans.
The long queues that are normally witnessed during the exercise were conspicuously missing and not even bread and soda that is usually offered to the donators was luring enough for Kenyans walking by.
While acknowledging that the exercise was sluggish, Kenya National Blood Transfusion Centre (KNBTS) Nairobi regional manager Geoffrey Kwalula pleaded with Kenyans to turn up in their large numbers to save a life by donating blood.
“We are still urging Kenyans to come out and donate blood because blood is an additional life you are giving somebody. Donating blood is a true show and act of love,” he said.
With the COVID-19 situation compounding the situation, Kwalula admitted that it would be an uphill task for the blood agency to achieve its target of collecting 9,000 units of blood during this year’s exercise.
“It is already day two and we have barely collected 400 units. It is going to be difficult but at the end of the day we can only hope that the situation gets to change before the exercise comes to a close,” he said.
Stavelian Musyoki, a regular blood donor, said his motivation to participate in the annual exercise comes from the thought of saving a life which he acknowledged is a notable cause.
“When you donate blood you save a life. There are those patients who have no one to help them with blood and it is through such initiatives like this one that they get to be given the help they need,” he said.
Noah Okindia who also donated his blood noted that it always gives him pleasure to know that his blood will be used to save someone’s life.
“I always get that good feeling when I donate my blood. It is not a painful exercise as other people would imagine and my plea to Kenyans is that you please come out and participate in the exercise.
KNBTS is conducting the exercise in its has six regional blood transfusion centres namely Nairobi, Embu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa and 21 satellite centers located in Machakos, Kisii, Voi, Meru, Naivasha, Busia, Siaya, Kericho, Nyeri, Garissa, Malindi, Thika, Lodwar, Bungoma, Kitale, Kwale, Nandi, Kitui, Narok, Lamu, Wajir and Migori.