Rwanda: RBC Banks on Military and Police for Steady Supply of Blood

Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) has turned to the police and the military to sustain its blood collection efforts.

The focus on strengthening the partnerships with the military and police comes in the midst of a lockdown in some parts of the country as well as other stringent Covid-19 measures imposed countrywide.

This means that some blood donation services have been disrupted as the country races to contain the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of coronavirus.

Some packages of blood collected at Rwanda Military Hospital-Kanombe in January. Photo: File.

However, Moise Tuyishime, Blood Donor Recruitment and Retention Senior Officer at Blood Transfusion Division (BTD), said they are leveraging on existing partnerships with Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and Rwanda National Police (RNP) to offset a possible shortfall in donations from the district in lockdown.

"The BTD staff are allowed to regularly collect blood from barracks and camps, which boosts blood collection countrywide," he said, allaying concerns of potential blood shortage in the country.

Majority of their blood collection centres, he added, are located in areas where mobility is allowed.

Currently, the Blood Transfusion Division serves 79 health facilities countrywide.

From January to June this year, the division added an extra 29,673 blood units to the country's blood bank.

In the same period, the division supplied 48,927 blood units - equivalent to 95.95 per cent of the 51,015 units of the total demand from health facilities.

This is nearly half of the 100,935 blood units that were demand by health facilities in the entire 2020. Of these, RBC supplied 93,993 units which is 93.12 per cent hospital satisfaction.

However, Tuyishime explains that the missing percentage in hospital satisfaction is not an issue because it depends on whether patients use all units supplied or recovers before exhausting them.

RBC says that it has sufficient modern equipment, meaning all collected blood is processed on time and delivered to health facilities whenever requested.

"Rwanda is one of the only two African countries that have level three accreditation from Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) which assures our blood processing capacity," Tuyishime said.

In Rwanda, most requirements for blood transfusion are due to malaria, pregnancies and birth complication cases, cancer cases followed by other issues like road accidents.

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