Murang’a partners with Amref in blood services

by Amref Health Africa

Damu Sasa is aimed at increasing blood access in local hospitals by monitoring donations and blood bank levels

In Summary

• Partnership includes establishment of a database of blood donors to be contacted in case of need.

• System will help hospitals track blood usage and find out which facilities have reserves.

The Murang’a county government has partnered with Amref to improve voluntary blood donation.

The initiative called Damu Sasa is aimed at increasing blood access in local hospitals to reduce blood-related deaths.

The partnership will be done with the help of Advanced IT Solutions Limited.

According to Amref Health Africa Kenya country director Meshack Ndirangu, the Damu Sasa initiative is an innovation that came out of the Presidential Digital Talent Programme launched in 2015.

The module maintains up to date information on blood services value chain, including an accurate donor data bank that can be used to make timely donation appeals during emergencies.

It will also help to observe fluctuations of blood levels in the hospitals to allow the facilities to restock in time.

Ndirangu spoke at Murang’a county headquarters while signing the partnership.

Many health facilities in the country do not have enough blood in their banks which causes loss of lives, he said.

“This technology will improve the situation by ensuring blood banks have accurate data that would improve effective use of blood and help with targeted donor appeals,” he said.

Ndirangu said poor sourcing, distribution and management of blood services cause unforeseen blood shortfalls, necessitate ad-hoc blood appeals during emergencies and limited blood traceability.

According to the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services, the country requires about 400,000 units of blood annually but records a shortfall of about 250,000 units.

“As the country seeks to attain universal health coverage by 2022, there is a great need to incorporate technology to catalyse this process,” he said.

The initiative was piloted at Kenyatta National Hospital which now has a database of over 14,000 blood donors and receives about seven walk-in donors every day.

Murang’a county is the first to benefit from the partnership that will make it possible for hospitals to know which facilities have specific blood types or components at a particular time.

Murang’a executive for health Joseph Mbai said the partnership would end challenges facing blood donations and transfusions in the county.

He said local facilities are sometimes forced to look for blood in private facilities in Nairobi as patients wait.

“This is a good stride to help resolve issues of blood shortage in our hospitals,” he said.

Most of the times,there are delays in screening of blood in Embu centre which is the only one in the Mt. Kenya region, inconveniencing treatment.

“This deal will help us have our blood screened in time and managed in a way that enables doctors to know where they can find a particular group when they need it,” he said.

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