Uganda: Health Ministry Launches National Blood Drive to Deal With Malaria Outbreak

Kampala, Uganda — The Health Ministry has embarked on a national blood drive to deal with effects of malaria like severe anemia that has been recorded in various parts of the country.

The campaign that was rolled out on Tuesday afternoon at the Health Ministry headquarters will run until November, 2019. It will be implemented by all regional blood banks across the country.

According to the Health ministry, the recent malaria outbreak has affected 65 districts in the country, adding that more than half of them are in need of blood for transfusion.

Dr. Joyce Moriku, the State Minister for Health in Charge of Primary Health care, says the campaign aims at availing blood to parts of the country that are reporting shortages.

"Routine reports show an increase in severe malaria and anemia that has increased blood transfusion needs in districts where upsurge has been reported. We are targeting at availing all areas suffering from blood stock outs with blood," she said.

Blood shortages have been reported in Kitgum and Gulu districts in the last two months. According to Uganda Blood Transfusion Services there are only 25,000 units of blood in storage. The target of the campaign is to raise this number to 50,000 units by November, 2019.

In Kampala, the blood donation campaigns will take place at; City Square, Nakasero blood bank offices and Shell Ben Kiwanuka. The regional blood banks of Kitovu Mbale, Mbarara, Nakasero and Gulu will collect blood in other parts of the country.

The collection centers in Masaka, Kable, Rukungiri, Jinja, Lira, Soroti and Arua will be responsible for cleaning and storing collected blood.

As the campaign goes on, Dr. Kaducu urged the public to protect themselves against malaria by sleeping under mosquito nets, mending torn mosquito nets and clear all mosquito breeding places.

She also cautioned people to avoid self-medicating.

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