BY STANDARD TEAM
Limited supply of blood in Africa is a serious problem. According to the World Health Organisation, out of the 75 countries that report fewer than 10 donations per 1000 people, 38 of them are from Africa.
Only one per cent of Ugandans donate blood regularly. According to Dr Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazire, the director Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS).
The response from the adult community as regards donating blood is very low and this, among other factors has led to shortage of blood at the blood bank.
Uganda Christian University (UCU), in conjunction with the Red Cross and the Mukono Church of Uganda Hospital launched a blood donation drive to curb blood shortage and maternal mortality in Uganda.
UCU, under the Save The Mothers (STM) department, carried out the five day drive during the Easter Semester’s Health Awareness Week at the Mukono COU Hospital.
According to Dr Jean Chamberlain, the director STM, about 6,000 mothers die every year while giving birth mostly due to causes directly related to pregnancy and childbirth, unsafe abortion and obstetric complications such as severe bleeding, infection, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labour.
Other causes of maternal mortality are malaria, diabetes, hepatitis, and anaemia, which are aggravated by pregnancy.
“It is hard to save a mother without blood and that is why we are taking the lead for blood donation,” she said.
Dr Dickson Wabwire, the medical superintendent of Mukono COU hospital acknowledged UCU’s efforts to save the mothers saying that this ensures the future of generations to come.
“You can be a good surgeon, obstetrician, but when you’re in the theatre and there’s no blood, all this skill goes to waste,” he argued.
Wabwire further challenged locals to have a heart of generosity, adding that it keeps you in check as an individual, arguing that it is disheartening to find that 16 mothers die every day in Uganda due to preventable and avoidable circumstances.
While the Millennium Development Goals did improve maternal health, most benefits went to women from the middle and upper echelons of society.
The most marginalised women continue to experience high rates of maternal mortality.
According to the WHO, about 40% of pregnant women will experience delivery complications, while about 15% need obstetric care to manage complications which are potentially life threatening to the mother or infant.
Despite the importance of antenatal care to predict and prevent some complications, many are sudden in onset and unpredictable hence the need for enough blood in reservoirs to mitigate any such risks.