Kenya: Looming Crisis as Blood Shortage Hits Bungoma

Bungoma County is staring at a looming crisis as a result of shortage of blood that has hit the county.

The shortage has been attributed to the global outbreak of Covid-19 that has adversely affected donation of blood.

Learners in schools, who are major blood donors, are also currently at home for holidays.

As a result of the shortage, there is fear of loss of lives in the county, especially among expectant mothers during delivery.

Elgon View Hospital, a private facility in Bungoma town, in collaboration with Bungoma County government on Tuesday received blood donations from willing residents at Kimilili Sub-county Hospital to assist patients who are in need of blood across the county.

Moses Wedhaya, who works at National Blood Transfusion Centre Bungoma branch, said Covid-19 has negatively affected their programmes since they cannot hold gathering of more than 100 people to receive blood as has previously been the case.

Mr Wadheya said that they mostly depend on students for blood donations.

Construction of blood bank

He further revealed that children alone across the County needs more than 15 units of blood per day while the elderly and the sick need more than 30 units per day, thus in total Bungoma County needs more than 50 units of blood per day.

"We used to highly depend on secondary and technical training institute students for blood donations but now that they are at home it's a big problem to us due to high number of patients in need of blood," said John Wanyonyi, who is the head of laboratory services at Kimilili Sub-county Hospital.

He said that most patients with sickle cell anemia have been greatly affected by the shortage, with some deaths reported.

"We also have frequent cases of accident victims, especially involving boda-bodas, who come to hospital and are in need of blood," he said.

Meanwhile, Bungoma County Health Chief Officer Patrick Wandili has said the assembly has approved the construction of a blood bank this financial year that will be the only one in the Western region.

Mr Wandili said that some patients have had to travel all the way Eldoret and Kisumu for blood transfusions.

"This blood bank will be one of a kind and will serve even patients from Uganda," he said.

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