THE Western and Nyanza Regional Blood Transfusion Centre based in Kisumu has denied that it is facing a shortage of blood.
Technical director Reuben Anyango said there is enough blood in the blood bank contrary to reports from a section of hospitals in the area.
He said currently the centre has a stock of 159 units of blood that can be distributed to hospital on request.
Anyango, who was accompanied by the blood bank administrator John Odenyo, said during in December last year, they received a request of 1,817 units of blood and issued 690 units.
"We distributed it to various public and private hospitals," he said. He however confirmed their collection of blood was affected on the same month by the schools' holiday and the doctors' strike. The schools which are a major source of collection had been closed down.
Anyango said many private facilities benefited during the strike as they received more units to handle many cases as a result of closure of public hospitals.
"We cannot however say there is a shortage. So far all the facilities that have requested for blood have received it," Anyango said.
He blamed Siaya for not sending any request for blood in December, which he said may have led to the shortage. He was reacting to reports that 13 patients have died due to lack of blood in two public hospitals in Nyanza.
A doctor who works at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Memorial Hospital in Kisumu said three babies died at the facility last weekend due to lack of blood.
"We even discussed one file during mortality meeting on Monday," said the medic.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Memorial hospital Medical Superintendent Juliana Otieno could not be reached for comments by the time of going to press.
In Siaya, 3 women and 6 babies were also reported to have died due to lack of blood. Odenyo challenged members of the public to volunteer donating blood to avoid shortage in future.
He also said at one point the striking doctors sent his officers away from the Jomo Kenyatta sports ground in Kisumu as they went to collect blood.
She said another woman died at the facility on Monday due to lack of the commodity. "We have been told that there is enough blood at the bank but the reagents for screening are lacking," she added.
Kisumu County Director of health Ojwang' Lusi said he was not aware of the shortage of blood at the facility.
In Siaya, 3 women and 6 babies were also reported to have died due to lack of blood.
There was no blood for transfusion as some patients died of anemia while others bled to death. Siaya Sub-District hospital Medical Superintendent Jackton Omoto said the facility lacked blood for transfusion.
"On Monday we requested for blood from the Regional Blood Transfusion Centre in Kisumu and received three units which are still not enough," Omoto said on the phone yesterday.
But the regional blood bank Siaya Medical Superintendent Jackton Omoto however, denied not sending such a request.
"We requested for blood but was not delivered to us thus the predicament that has befallen our facility," Omoto said.
"We rely on well-wisher donors and therefore appeal to the public to be positive to enable us stock enough blood," he said.
He said the regional office supplies blood to most hospitals in Western and Nyanza but have two satellite sources in Kakamega and Kisii.