By Max Patrick Ocaido
American jazz saxophonist and songwriter, Kirk Whalum, has arrived in Uganda ahead of the Rotary Blood Bank charity concert on March 7, 2019.
Whalum will perform in a fundraising jazz concert dubbed ‘Kirk Whalum Live’ to raise funds for the Rotary Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital, tomorrow at Kampala Serena Hotel. The American jazz saxophonist jetted in Tuesday night.
This concert is the first in a series of other fundraising activities intended to raise $500,000 to furnish the Mengo Blood Bank with equipment which will enable the facility to test, process and pack safe blood before it is transported to different health facilities.
On Wednesday, Whalum visited and toured Mengo Blood Bank where he also addressed the press. He has recorded a series of well-received solo albums and film soundtracks, with music ranging from pop to R&B to smooth jazz. His musical accomplishments have earned him a total of 12 Grammy nominations. This will be his second visit to Uganda.
In 2013, Rotary Clubs under the leadership of the then District Governor, Emmanuel Katongole hatched the idea of constructing a blood bank at Mengo Hospital to complement the current existing National Blood Bank in Nakasero. The facility reportedly cost about $1.3m according to Katongole.
According to World Health Organization standards (WHO), Uganda needs at least 350,000 units of safe blood annually yet only 250,000 units of blood are collected. This leaves a deficit of approximately 100,000 units of blood annually. This critical blood shortage affects services and puts patients’ lives at risk.