Group O blood shortage hits Bunyoro

A Hoima City resident, Mr Ambrose Niwagaba, donates blood in Hoima City on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Image: Gad Asaba/Kazi-njema News)

The Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) Albertine Region Coordinator is concerned about the acute shortage of blood Group O in Bunyoro due to its increased demand.

Mr Henry Benda said today (Thursday) that the increased demand for blood Group O came to limelight especially in the period before and during the festive season and a surge in malaria cases among children and pregnant mothers.

The coordinator said the number of people donating blood that falls in Group O is fewer than the patients in need of it in Bunyoro’s health facilities; revealing that there is a general drop in blood donation.

He warned that unless people change their unwillingness to donate blood, the current shortage will continue putting patients’ lives at stake.

Mr Benda appeals to the people of Bunyoro to embrace blood donation to check the crisis and save lives of those in need of blood now that the region has a blood bank being constructed at Kasingo cell in West Division, Hoima city.

Audio: Benda on blood Group O (English)
UBTS Albertine Region Coordinator, Mr Henry Benda speaks to the press about shortage of blood group O in Bunyoro. (Image: Gad Asaba/Kazi-njema News)

Whereas some people would be willing to donate blood, they are never given the opportunity since the UBTS and its partner – the Uganda Red Cross Society do not go to villages to collect blood there but concentrate in urban areas only among others, according to Mr John Bosco Tugume, a Hoima city dweller.

He said the more the people donating blood, the more the chances of collecting blood Group O.

Audio: Tugume on blood donation (English)

Mr Ambrose Niwagaba, a resident of Park Cell in Hoima city, was shocked to realise that during yesterday’s (Wednesday) blood donation drive in the city, people shunned the exercise with a handful only donating.

He also said the fewer the blood donors, the less the chances of having blood Group O collected.

Audio: Niwagaba on blood donation (English)

The Ministry of Health recently launched the construction of a Shs4.5b regional blood bank for Hoima Regional Referral Hospital to serve 11 districts of Bunyoro and Buganda including Hoima and Hoima city, Kikuube, Kibaale, Kiryandongo, Kakumiro, Masindi, Kagadi, Kibaale and Buliisa and Kiboga and Kyankwanzi respectively.

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