Blood shortages paralyze operations at Kapchorwa Hospital

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KAPCHORWA, Uganda

According to Dr. Masai Siraji, the Kapchorwa district health officer, the hospital receives only 12 to 13 units of blood on a weekly basis from Mbale regional blood bank, which is not enough to meet the considerate number of blood cases at the hospital.

“The units of blood that we receive can only be adequate for Kapchorwa District but we serve the neighbouring districts because this is the only hospital in Sebei sub-region,” lamented Dr. Siraji.

Blood shortage has not only paralyzed operations at Kapchorwa main hospital but has subsequently forced health workers to suspend some treatments that require blood transfusion.

Speaking to the Daily Monitor paper, the district health officer, Dr Siraji Masai, alarmed that the hospital has been operating without blood for one week.

“It is very true that at the moment we have no blood since last week and yet the number of patients who need blood transfusion keeps increasing every day. This has put us in a very difficult situation,” Dr Masai said.

Dr. Siraji furthered his arguments suggesting that the hospital has decided to refer patients who need blood to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, adding that children with severe malaria, accident victims and pregnant women are the most affected.

In order to combat the situation, Dr Masai, however, said they will soon emback on blood donation campaigns across the sub-region. However, despite the solutions that are being thought, more action is required from the national blood bank to increase the numbers of pints supplied to the hospital.
“Although we need to sensitize people more on donating blood, it is important that the blood bank increases the units of blood supplied to the hospital,” he said.

The district health officer also said they find challenges in refering patients to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital because the ambulance broke down two years ago.

“The ambulance has been down for some time. It is very old and was given to us in 2010, so our people use pick-up trucks, which puts their lives at risk. We appeal to government to buy for us a new ambulance,” Dr Masai said

On the contrary, however, one of the officials from the Mbale regional blood bank, who requested to remain anonymous, claims that they were not aware of any blood shortage. “There is no need for alarm. We have blood here and even now our people are in the field to bring more blood,” the source said

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