Majority of blood donors in Kenya below 25 years of age
16 June 2016, 10:28
Nairobi - Majority of blood donors in Kenya are between the ages of 16 – 25, with statistics indicating that 80% of blood donors in the country are from secondary schools and colleges/universities.
The director, Kenya National Blood transfusion services (KNBTS) Dr. Margaret Odour reveled this while speaking at the world blood donor day ceremony held at the chancellor’s court, university of Nairobi.
“We appreciate all donors wherever you are because unlike the developed world, in Kenya majority of our donors are under the age of 25 years. I think 80% of our donors are between 16 – 25 yrs.”
The 2016 theme is ‘blood connects us all’ and focuses on thanking the blood donors as well as also highlighting the dimension of sharing and connection between the blood donors and the recipients under the slogan ‘share blood and give life’.
Last year, KNBTS collected a total of 155,000 units of blood representing 39% of our national requirement.
In Kenya, 60% of blood recipients are women and children. Blood is transfused to children because of severe anemia resulting from malaria, malnutrition, worm infestation and sickle cell disease, while blood is transfused to women due to bleeding before and after childbirth, miscarriage, induced abortions or other related pregnancy complications such as tubal pregnancy.
Kenya has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world which stands at 488 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births with approximately 20 women dying every day from childbirth related complications.
The Director of Medical services, Dr. Jackson Kioko announced that the Ministry of Health through the Kenya national blood transfusion services backed by the center for disease control (CDC) has acquired the e-progresa blood establishment computerized system (BECS) which has the capability of interfacing the computer technologies with the automated blood screening equipment to generate blood results in real time.
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“I am pleased to inform you today that the system is now in use in six regions across the country; Nairobi, Mombassa, Kisumu, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret, the system is also being rolled out in Machakos, Kisii satellites and other twelve satellites,” he said.
The University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi who hosted the event identified the University’s key role in addressing blood shortage in the country by promoting regular blood donation culture in the higher institution learning. Prof Mbiti also reaffirmed the university’s continued support to the Ministry of Health through the school of Medicine located at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
“This activity is also in line with the broader university guiding principles of connecting and inspiring the Kenyan society, providing leadership and stewardship in Kenya’s development and engaging the stakeholders in its mandate.”
The ministry of Health recommends that men donate blood after every three months so long as they are in good health while women can donate blood every four months except during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Edwin Sanya and Aisha Daflla hold the title of the most consistent male and female Kenyan blood donors. Edwin has donated blood a record 81 times while Aisha has donated 48 times. Both donors urged the Kenyan community not to shy away from donating blood but instead strive to be regular blood donors.
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