Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

19 January 2013

Tanzania: Arusha Meets Blood Collection Targets

Arusha — ARUSHA has succeeded in reaching the target of mobilizing 1000 voluntary blood donors in the city, during the just ended week-long campaign to boost blood bank for mothers and babies.

Inspired by the 'Evidence for Action,' Tanzania, the crusade dubbed, 'Mama Ye!' which climaxed with a public event at the Arusha Declaration Museum, involved the local chapter of 'Red Cross,' the National 'Safe Blood' programme and the regional hospital of Mount Meru.

Many volunteers from Arusha City, especially from local education institutions turned up to donate blood in the cause to save 'mother and child,' and according to the National 'Safe Blood' programme manager, Dr Effersper Nkya, 80 per cent of the country's blood bank is used to save the lives of expectant mothers and newly born babies.

"There are still shortages of blood being experienced at zonal levels countrywide and it is everybody's responsibility to ensure that our hospitals have this important source of life, to save lives of especially women and children," said Dr Nkya.

Coincidentally, the campaign was held at the time when Arusha was also hosting the second "Global Conference for Maternal Health 2013," which had brought into the city more than 700 delegates from 68 countries around the world. Some of the participants also turned up to donated blood.

The Director of 'Evidence for Action' (E4A), Mr Craig Ferla, pointed out that 50 per cent of blood being donated in the country is used to save lives of newly born babies, while the other 30 per cent rescues expectant mothers.

"Accidents and other cases of injuries account for 15 per cent of Tanzania's blood bank usage," stated Mr Ferla. Tanzania needs an average of 400,000 bottles of blood per year, but the National 'Safe Blood' programme can only collect between 120,000 and 150,000 bottles which is just 30 to 35 per cent of the annual requirements.

Inadequate blood supplies account for 44 per cent deaths of women in Sub-Saharan Africa region while in the case of Tanzania it is estimated that One (1) in every 23 pregnant woman is in danger of losing her life on the maternal bed. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) released in 2012, a total of 8,500 women died in the year 2010 alone in Tanzania and their deaths resulted from maternal related problems

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