The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) was established in the year 2001 as a Division in the Ministry of Health. The mandate of KNBTS is to collect, test, process and distribute blood and blood products to all transfusing hospitals in Kenya. The Division has six Regional Blood Transfusion Centres namely Nairobi, Embu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa and 14 satellite stations that are located in Machakos, Kisii, Voi, Meru, Naivasha, Kakamega, Kericho, Nyeri, Garissa, Malindi, kitale, Thika, Bungoma and Lodwar.

The Daily Nation today carried a story alleging that blood is being sold at Nakuru Provincial General Hospital. While the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service does not have control over the usage of blood after it is dispatched to the various transfusing hospitals we feel that we have a huge stake in this unfolding story.

The alleged sale of blood is a very disturbing matter since it has the potential of stifling our activities since we rely 100% on voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors. If this continues the blood donors may turn their backs to us whenever we go out to mobilize them to donated blood.

It is important for all health workers who in their course of duty handle blood in one way or another to realize that it is a precious commodity and it has no substitute, their conduct therefore has serious repercussions   on the operations of the Kenya National Blood Service and indeed the entire blood sub – sector.

To our faithful blood donors we want to re-assure them that as a government agency that is charged with the mandate of blood management we are going to step up our vigilance in collaboration with the hospitals and other partners to ensure we are accountable in the use of this precious gift of life.

We urge the law enforcement officers to pursue the culprits in this matter and those found culpable to be prosecuted since sale of blood is illegal.

On the current shortage of blood we are now seeking alternative strategies of mobilizing blood donors from Colleges, Universities and Uniformed Services since our main blood donors who are secondary school students are still out of school. We envisage that normalcy will resume once the Teachers Service Commission and teacher’s stalemate is settled.

Our current blood reserves though minimal will keep us running until we can get enough. In the meantime we are moving blood units from areas where the supply is better to areas of shortage nationally. We however assure all Kenyans that there is no cause of alarm and no one will die on account of lack of blood.

Dr. Margaret Oduor

Director KNBTS

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