KENYA – Head of Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) Dr Nduku Kilonzo has announced a new blood track and trace system is in place that will record every stage of the blood transfusion process from the donor to the recipient.
A blood donor will be able to go to the system’s portal and register in the new track and trace system which will keep the records of the donor to encourage accountability.
During celebrations to mark World Day of the Sick at the Kenyatta National Hospital, she revealed that the system is on the Chanjo platform which also registers COVID-19 vaccinations.
Kenyans can now trace the blood they donate and know the final fate of every blood component donated through the new system introduced by the transfusion service.
Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood.
Donors must weigh above 50 kilograms, be in the age bracket of 16-65 years, have a Haemoglobin (HB) concentration of 12.5gm per deciliter and a normal blood pressure of 130/90.
Therefore, providing safe and adequate blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy and infrastructure.
World Health Organization projects that one per cent of the population will require blood at one time or another in their lives which translates to about 500, 000 pints of blood for Kenya’s 50 million population.
However, the country collects less than a quarter of that volume.
The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the shortage crisis as people shunned going to hospitals coupled with the closure of colleges and schools.
In the countries with lockdown orders, donor anxiety and fear of COVID-19 due to misconceptions and misinformation results to many patients being hindered from accessing blood transfusion services
“Each eligible Kenyan should donate a pint of blood on their birthday to end the current shortage,” asked Dr Kilonzo.
The anti-theft system was initially promised by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in March 2020 when he revealed blood donated in Kenya was being stolen and sold in Somalia.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations further added that some officers at the KNBTS could have been part of a cartel that was siphoning blood donated by Kenyans and selling it in Somalia since blood shortage was artificial.
In addition, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said blood track and trace system was part of international best practice during World Blood Donor Day on June 14th last year.
“The Health Ministry continues to review these guidelines in line with international blood safety and standards to provide a framework for enhanced safety, efficacy and efficiency of blood services,” she said.
WHO recommends that all activities related to blood collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution be coordinated at the national level through effective organization and integrated blood supply networks.
The national blood system should be governed by national blood policy and legislative framework to promote uniform implementation of standards and consistency in the quality, safety of blood and blood products.
The health organization also recommends that all blood donations should be screened for infections prior to use including mandatory screening for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis performed according to quality system requirements.
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