MPs Sound Warning Over Blood Shortage

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In short
Parliaments health committee has warned of increased maternal mortality if government does not provide an additional 5.4 billion Shillings required to increase blood collections across the country. The committee chairperson, Dr. Michael Bukenya, says that government has provided only 9.6 billion of the required 15.1 billion shillings for Uganda Blood Transfusion Services UBTS to collect 240,000 units of blood annually. This translates into a shortage of 90,537 units of blood.

Parliament's health committee has warned of increased maternal mortality if government does not provide an additional 5.4 billion Shillings required to increase blood collections across the country.
                       
The committee chairperson, Dr. Michael Bukenya, says that government has provided only 9.6 billion of the required 15.1 billion shillings for Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) to collect 240,000 units of blood annually. This translates into a shortage of 90,537 units of blood.
 
Dr Bukenya says the shortage came as a result of the discontinued support from the US Presidents' Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), which ended in March 2016.
 
While presenting the health sector report to parliament today, Bukenya said the funding was meant to support blood donor mobilisation, collection and processing, training and technical assistance under UBTS.
  
Results from the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) 2016 show a reduction in infant mortality rate from 54 deaths per 1000 live births in 2011 to 43 deaths per 1000 live births in 2016.
 
The report also indicates that child mortality has seen a steady decrease from 38 deaths per 1000 live births in 2011 to 22 deaths in 2016.
 
Maternal mortality reduced from 438 deaths per 100,000 live births registered in the 2011 UDHS report to the current 336 deaths per 100,000 live births.
 
Bukenya told parliament that his committee has not identified alternative funding in the health ministry budget saying that lack of blood impacts negatively on the delivery of health services since blood has no alternatives.
 
He said that without blood, the country can lose more people than would die in a bomb blast.
 
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah advised Bukenya to interface with parliament's budget committee so that alternative funding is identified in the 2017/2018 financial year.
 
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Legislators said that blood collection was one of the items in the health sector that had to be fully funded.
 
Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa said that money provided for workshops and seminars should be reallocated towards blood collection.
 
With no solution, state minister for primary healthcare Joyce Moriku also appealed to the finance ministry to find funds for blood to save mothers and children. 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.