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Rotary Seeks UGX 2.4 billion to Equip Mengo Hospital Blood Bank

The Chairman of Rotary Blood Bank Program Board Emmanuel Katongole says the blood bank is in dire need of specialized equipment to facilitate testing, processing, packaging and production of blood components like platelets, red blood cells and plasma. Part of the money is to purchase a fully equipped Mobile Blood Bank.
Rotary Blood Bank during its construction in 2017

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At least USD 640,000 (2.4 billion Shillings) is required to equip the Rotary Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital.

The Chairman of Rotary Blood Bank Program Board Emmanuel Katongole says the blood bank is in dire need of specialized equipment to facilitate testing, processing, packaging and production of blood components like platelets, red blood cells and plasma. Part of the money is to purchase a fully equipped Mobile Blood Bank.

"Currently, the Rotary Blood Bank cannot process blood because it lacks the capacity to test for infections. Additionally, it cannot separate blood into components. The collected blood is stored and sent to Uganda Blood Transfusion Services for processing and this causes blood shortage in the country due to lack of the processing requirement," Katongole said.

He also noted a shortage of consumables like blood bags and blood donation sets which he said limits the blood donations from the public.

Katongole was addressing journalists this afternoon ahead of the planned fundraising drive; a live concert with Kirk Whalum, an American jazz saxophonist and songwriter who will be performing at the Kampala Serena Hotel on March 7. Whalum, who performed at Bill Clinton's first inauguration as United States President back in 1993, is also remembered for performing a special tribute to South Africa's Nelson Mandela.

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The idea of the new blood bank was conceived in 2014 by Katongole, a Past District Governor, inspired by a painful experience of losing a sister who bled to death after giving birth, and also in response to the inadequate blood transfusion services.

His vision has since seen the construction of an 800 sq. meter blood bank facility worth USD 1.3 million. This covers construction of the blood bank building, procurement of equipment and training of staff. The Blood Bank has collected 9,647 units of blood since its establishment on February 27, 2017.

MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer Wim Vanhelleputte says the initiative resonates well with the company's key areas of corporate social responsibility.

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Stanbic Bank's Chief Executive Officer Patrick Mweheire said that equipping and operationalizing the Rotary Blood Bank is to transform lives of people and communities.

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Prior to the construction of the new blood bank, Uganda had only one blood bank- the National Blood Bank at Nakasero. Records from the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) indicate that 250,000 units of blood are distributed to all hospitals in Uganda annually, compared to the recommended 350,000 units by World Health Organization (WHO), which leaves a deficit of 100,000 units of blood.

The Rotary Blood Bank also received a Rotary Foundation Global grant worth USD 250,000 to procure an assortment of blood transfusion equipment from Germany. 

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