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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya launches blood donation campaign to plug shortfall

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s ministry of health and partners on Thursday launched a blood donation campaign to help meet a rising demand occasioned by road accidents, terrorism and high cancer cases.

Senior officials said the one-day campaign, to be held on Feb. 14 countrywide, is expected to garner over 10,000 units of blood and help offset a shortfall in public health facilities.

“The campaign has been necessitated by the continued need for blood in hospitals and other healthcare facilities and to ensure Kenyans are secure in the event of suffering illnesses that may require blood transfusion,” said Josephine Githaiga, acting director of Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service.

She said the government has partnered with the private sector to increase awareness among Kenyans on the importance of donating blood amid ignorance and deep-rooted cultural myths that have undermined the efforts.

“Public education is key to eliminate blood donation apathy that is rampant in many parts of the country,” Githaiga said, adding that there are plans to include information on blood donation in the school curriculum.

Kenya collects an average of 180,000 units of blood annually from donors and is yet to reach the 400,000 units recommended by the World Health Organization.

Githaiga said the campaign, dubbed “Show your love, donate blood,” will reach over 1 million people with information on the health benefits of donating blood.

“We have adopted a strategy of using information, education and communication in an effort to create a culture of regular voluntary blood donation,” said Githaiga.

She emphasized that Kenya requires sufficient blood in health centers to help cope with emergencies arising from accidents, pregnancy related complications and malaria outbreaks.

“It is envisaged the upcoming campaign will boost our national blood reserves and more importantly increase blood donor repeat rate that currently stands at 30 percent,” Githaiga told reporters.

           

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