Kenya Marks World Blood Donor Day with Calls For More Donors
Nairobi, June 14, 2023: The Kenya Tissue and Transplant Authority (KTTA) joined its partners and Kenyans in general to celebrate this year’s World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The day, marked annually on June 14th, is promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The event, which was this year hosted at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a County, serves to acknowledge voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood, raise awareness about the need for regular voluntary blood donations, and finally, remind people around the world who are alive thanks to blood donation about the key role selfless blood donors have played in their wellbeing.
The theme for the WBDD for 2023 is “Give Blood, give plasma, share life, share often”. During the celebration, the guests also witnessed the launch of Murang’a County Blood Satellite and the commissioning of an Oxygen Plant to adequately serve the county’s ICU patients.
Speaking at the World Blood Donor Day celebrations, Ms. Nakhumicha Susan, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health, said the day is marked to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood, adding that the event also aims to raise awareness about the need for regular blood donations to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to affordable and timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and blood products.
“We have come together to honor and celebrate our heroes – the individuals and Institutions who have selflessly donated their blood to save lives. These heroes embody the true spirit of humanity, demonstrating compassion, generosity, and a commitment to the well-being of others,” said Ms. Nakhumicha.
“Among these heroes, I would like to single out two exceptional individuals whose contributions to blood donation have been truly remarkable. First, let us recognize Kennedy Sanya, Kenya’s highest male blood donor. Kennedy has selflessly donated blood a remarkable 102 times.”
Ms. Nakhumicha also took the opportunity to bid farewell to Aisha Dafalla, who is retiring from her Whole Blood donation after an incredible 76 donations. Aisha will now commit to sharing Plasma and Platelets.
The CS also acknowledged and thanked the country’s partners in its blood donation journey, singling out the diplomatic missions of Hungary, as well as the World Bank through its C-HERP program; the Kenya Red Cross, the Rotary Club and the St. John’s Ambulance teams which have played a significant role in ensuring the availability and safety of blood and blood products.
In his address, Dr. Wakwabubi M. N., the acting CEO, of KTTA, said that this year’s WBDD theme of “Give Blood, give plasma, share life, share often” is fitting as KTTA and its partners are launching the Murang’a County Blood Satellite which is a significant step towards bringing services closer to the people so that they can give blood, give plasma, share life, and share often.
“The availability and accessibility of safe blood and blood products are crucial. Blood transfusions are essential for various medical procedures, such as surgeries, trauma care, cancer treatment, childbirth, and managing certain diseases,” noted Dr. Wakwabubi.
“Blood is an essential service in hospitals, and plays a pivotal role in ensuring quality healthcare and saving lives. With the dedication of our voluntary blood donors, cancellations in operating theaters due to blood shortages have become increasingly rare. We have also witnessed a remarkable reduction in maternal deaths. When blood is readily available, hospitals function optimally, enabling the delivery of a wide range of healthcare services and contributing to the realization of UHC’s vision.”
In order to ensure the availability of sufficient blood for the country’s healthcare facilities, the government has increased its budgetary allocations to the KTTA. However, despite the increase in funding for KTTA operations, the demand for blood has also significantly risen, with blood collection growing from 130,000 units to 400,000 units, meaning that the available funding is still insufficient to adequately finance the authority’s operations.
Expressing a more positive stance, CS Nakhumicha said: “Looking ahead, in the upcoming fiscal year, it is expected that Kenya will achieve the World Health
Organization’s target of 1% of the population voluntarily donating blood. The government recognizes the importance of this achievement and is actively facilitating the necessary measures to make it a reality.”
During the event, various categories of individuals and institutions were recognized for the Gift of Life award ceremony. They were recognized for making a difference through regular blood donations, creating awareness campaigns, and mobilizing their communities to contribute regularly. Ends…//
About Kenya Tissue and Transplant Authority (KTTA):
Kenya Tissue and Transplant Authority, the successor to the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service, is a parastatal established in August 2022 under the Ministry of Health. It has the mandate to oversee, supervise and coordinate the collection and distribution of safe blood and blood products in Kenya. It also develops relevant policies, regulations, and guidelines for the availability of safe and equitable tissue, organs, and regenerative medicine therapies. The vision of KTTA is to make Kenya self-sufficient in safe and quality blood, tissues, and human organs.