By Abraham Kizza
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in partnership with Equity Bank and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) are registering success in the six-day Blood Donation Drive aimed at collecting 4,500 units of blood in response to a nationwide appeal for safe blood.
The drive which started Monday and ending Saturday is covering different parts of the country including Workers House, Constitutional Square, Queens Way – Katwe, Mukwano Arcade, and NSSF Kampala branches in Kireka, Mukono, Kawempe, Bakuli, Bugolobi and Entebbe. Outside Kampala, the drive is taking place in major regional towns of Mbale, Mbarara, Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal, Jinja, Mukono ,Kabale, Masaka as well as NSSF branches in the respective towns.
According to NSSF, the first day of the campaign, UBTS collected 700 units of blood which it says was a good start towards achieving their target. It also appealed to the general public to participate in the drive.
“Day 1 of the #NSSFBloodDrive gave us over 700 units of blood. You too can be a part of this. Grab a friend & come give #YourType a present of life at any of our branches countrywide,” NSSF tweeted on Tuesday.
While addressing media at the launch of the drive at Constitutional Square on Monday, Richard Byarugaba, NSSF Managing Director, said,“Through this drive, we would like to sensitize communities where we will be, about blood donation and its benefits to help us raise our target of 4,500 units, ultimately increasing the number of blood donors countrywide.”
Byarugaba revealed that through NSSF’s partnership with UBTS in the last six years, over 9,420 units of blood have been collected to-date.
Equity Bank through its Executive Director Anthony Kituuka donated Shs5million towards the drive to collect safe blood.
NSSF has also introduced some incentives to those who are donating among which is winning of food voucher at Jumia foods.
“It's Day 3 of the NSSF Blood Drive. Win food vouchers from Jumia by simply taking a selfie with your friend after donating and post it using the hashtag #YourType Donate Blood, Donate Love,” NSSF tweeted on Wednesday.
The campaign comes when the Blood banks of different regions like Fort Portal registered acute shortage of blood which has left some patients at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital stranded. Mid-September last year, eight people died at this hospital following an acute blood shortage.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), Uganda needs about 340,000 units of blood annually although less than 200,000 units are collected annually. It should be noted that only 1% of Uganda’s population that is eligible to donate blood regularly do so, causing blood shortages.