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Gulu Regional Blood Bank Struggling to Raise Enough Blood

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Dr. Sam Uringtho, the Director of Gulu Regional Blood Bank told URN in an interview that they are raising little blood because of the low turn up of blood donors. According to Uringtho, majority of their donors are secondary school students but because of high demand for blood, what they donate is not enough.
21 Aug 2019 17:11
Gulu Regional Blood Bank sign post in Gulu town -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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Gulu Regional Blood Bank is struggling to raise enough blood due to the reluctance of donors.   

The blood bank is only able to collect 2,370 units of blood out of the required 3,950 units, which represents 60 percent.  

Dr. Sam Uringtho, the Director Gulu Regional Blood Bank, says they are failing to meet their target because of the low turn up of blood donors. 

According to Uringtho, majority of their donors are secondary school students but because of the high demand for blood, what they donate isn’t enough.  

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Gulu Regional Blood Banks supplies all government health facilities in Northern Uganda and few privately owned hospitals. It has three field teams. 

Two teams that serve Acholi sub region are in Gulu and the other is in Lira district serving Lango Sub –Region.  Each team is supposed to collect 1,300 units of blood each month.

Uringtho revealed that the blood shortage in the blood bank wouldn’t have been bad if the Region hadn’t been seriously hit by the malaria epidemic.   

 

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Uringtho, who describes the blood shortage in Northern Uganda as chronic, says the situation is likely to worsen if blood donors don’t show up in big numbers.   

 

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Lacor Hospital in Gulu District requires between 2,000 to 2,500 units of blood per month, but it only receives between 700 to 1,000 units from the Regional Blood Bank. 

To try and meet the high demand, the Hospital raises between 150 to 200 units per month internally to supplement the supply from the Regional Blood Bank.  

Dr. Angelo Ochieng, the In –Charge of Attiak Health Center 4 in Amuru District told URN in an interview that they received eight units of blood from Gulu Regional Blood Bank in Mid-July but it got finished very first. 

Ochieng, who revealed that the health facility requires 15 units of blood every month, said majority of their clients who require blood transfusion are malaria patients, sicklers and accident victims among others.  

Paul Okello Ajok, the Principle Administrator Gulu Regional Referral Hospital appealed to the general public to donate blood to save lives of those who require blood transfusion.

David Okema, a resident of Laroo Division in Gulu Municipality, says he last donated blood in 2015 in a bid to save his aunts life who was very sick and needed blood transfusion. 

 

Okema vows never to donate blood again because hospitals want relatives to first donate blood in exchange of the one in the facility before their patient are given blood. 

 In Uganda, the Uganda Red Cross Society in partnership with the Uganda Blood Transfusion

Services through the Ministry of Health has the mandate of mobilizing Voluntary blood donors to donate blood for patients who require blood transfusion.