Uganda To Host Blood Transfusion Congress in March


Photo Courtesy of a person donating blood

Uganda will next month host for the first time the 11th Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) Congress in Kampala. The congress scheduled for March 4th– 7th 2024 will set table for leading experts and stakeholders in the field of blood transfusion from across the continent under the theme “Safe and sustainable blood services in Africa, new clinical advances, ICT Innovations and Technologies in Transfusion.”

Dr.Dorothy Kyeyune, the director Blood Bank Services in Uganda noted that this is a mile stone in the blood sector in Uganda where clinicians will be trained on various crucial areas as well as expose Uganda to advanced blood transfusion technology , not to mention development of new partnerships.

Be ready to be

“We are going to look at how can we improve blood services,how can we make blood more accessible in Africa? , what are the new technologies and innovations?” said Dr. Kyeyune .

The director also revealed that demand for blood in Uganda is bound to increase , and noted that even at the moment Uganda is operating on a deficit according to WHO standards.

WHO guides that for a country to be considered self sufficient with blood supply it should be able to reach 1 percent of its population. That is with Uganda’s population standing at Million people , the blood bank should have 450,000 units of blood . However , the country’s blood bank has up to 300,000 units of blood. The deficient units of blood are shared with the ever increasing number of refugees as well.

Dr. Charles Olaro, Director Clinical Services from the Ministry of Health emphasised the importance of a Congress focused on Blood Transfusion. According to him, this is one of the most neglected clinical areas during training and yet very significant.

He explained that bringing together professionals like clinicians , stake holders and blood users will improve its supply and the way of handling blood to minimise losses.

Furthermore he stressed that one of the hot areas for discussion during the Congress should be the preventive approach for demand for blood . He highlighted that for example initiatives like distribution of mosquito nets , antenatal care where pregnant mothers are given folic acid tablets , helps to prevent anaemic related incidents .

Children and the process of child birth alone according to statistics from the Ministry of Health cover up to 85 percent of consumption of donated blood. This is because of anaemic tendencies among babies due to malaria and other conditions as well as loss of blood during child birth.

The 11th Congress for blood transfusion society in Africa however is an opportunity to put all these challenges in perspective and see how to harness more for increase of blood donation.

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