Uganda Breweries Limited has partnered with Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) under the Nakasero Blood Bank to run a six-day blood donation drive that is aimed at collecting 600 units of blood to boost blood collections and enable the team beat its monthly target of 1,182 units.

The drive, which was launched today at Nakawa Market will take place from Monday, September 3rd to Saturday, September 8th 2018 at five locations: Nakawa Market, Uganda Breweries Portbell, Luzira Market, Kireka Market and Mukono Market.

While speaking at the press briefing to launch the drive, Uganda Breweries’ Communications and Sustainability Manager, Rhona Arinaitwe said, “As we all know, there has been an outcry for blood across the country. When we were approached by Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, we did not hesitate to play our part and partner with them on the six-day drive. This is the second time we are working with UBTS to mobilize a similar campaign and we have shown our commitment to the cause by providing the logistics necessary for the six-day drive.”

The Nakasero Blood Bank is tasked with collecting 1,182 units of blood every month. However, this month, the team has only collected over 450 units so far. Statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that Uganda has an annual demand of about 340,000 units of blood, but falls short by over 100,000 units. The organisation recommends that 1 per cent of blood be collected annually from the population. Last year, only 260,000 units were collected against a targeted 340,000 units in Uganda.

Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, the Director Uganda Blood Transfusion Services said, “Every day in Uganda, the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services needs 1,200 units of blood to meet the country’s demand. Whereas we are tasked with collecting 340,000 units annually, we keep falling short and as a result, UBTS is reaching out to corporate companies to provide support in mobilizing the public to donate blood.”

Dr. Byabazaire noted that as recently as January 2018, there has been a dire blood shortage nationwide and blamed the crisis on poor community response to blood donation and manpower challenges. “In the past, we received tremendous support and funding from PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. When PEPFAR withdrew their support, we were left in a logistical crisis. We therefore appreciate Uganda Breweries for heeding our call and partnering with us to ensure that there is a steady supply of safe blood.”

“We will be holding the six-day blood donation drive in market areas because we are passionate about working with our communities on causes that affect us all. We call upon the public to join this drive and donate a unit each to save one adult life, or four infant lives. Our target for the six days is 600 units of blood to enable Uganda Blood Transfusion Services under the Nakasero Blood Bank achieve their monthly target.” Ms. Arinaitwe remarked.

Dr. Byabazaire also noted that the supply of blood is always enough during school terms as many of the students are volunteer donors. In Uganda, more than 80% of the blood UBTS collects is donated by students because school communities are easier to mobilize.

“Anyone is who is above the age of 17 years and weighs more than 45kg is eligible to donate blood. Each person can donate one unit of blood that is equivalent to 450ml every four months for women, and every three months for men.” Dr. Byabazaire added.

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