KAMPALA – The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in partnership with Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) under the Ministry of Health and Uganda Red Cross Society, on Monday kicked off a blood donation drive to collect over 3,000 units of rare blood types currently in high demand in hospitals.
At the launch of the drive, Barbra Arimi, NSSF Head of Marketing & Corporate Affairs said that the drive initially in Greater Kampala, Hoima, Jinja, and Masaka, will be expanded to other parts of the country. “From our discussions with UBTS, we learned that there was scarcity of the rare blood type – the negative rhesus, in hospitals and we would therefore like to specifically scale up donors with that blood type within the next three days and beyond.”
Adong Juliet, the UBTS Principal Assistant Secretary explained that they collected less negative blood types on average, compared to the positive blood type despite the high demand of the latter.
“In general, patients with Rh-positive blood groups can receive blood from either RH- negative or Rh-positive blood groups while patients with Rh-negative can only receive from Rh-negative blood donors. Specifically for O-ve blood group, which is the universal donor, we usually receive only 1% of that blood type from our collections on average. We believe that an increase in Rh-negative blood donors will help us avert death that would arise due to lack of the rare blood types.”
The blood drive will take place in selected areas within Kampala, Hoima, Masaka and Jinja between 19th and 21st June.
The initiative is part of the Fund’s corporate social responsibility agenda focusing on health.
Barbra Arimi reported that the Fund had enabled UBTS to collect over 62,288 units of blood in the past ten years of the initiative, thus saving over 187,164 lives through transfusion of safe blood.
“In addition, we donated a preservative centrifuge to UBTS in 2021 that supported Mbarara Regional Blood Bank Laboratory Services and a number of refrigerators for safe blood storage, This was for purposes of sustainability of this initiative.” She added.
A centrifuge is used for processing of blood into various blood components including platelet concentrates mainly for cancer patients, red packed cells for anemia, fresh frozen plasma for maternal cases.