The government plans to expand the country’s blood cold storage capacity from the current 20,500 units to 49,500 units by the end of July.
Three cold rooms in the regional banks are currently under rehabilitation as part of the effort to curb the perennial blood shortage in the country, which has seen a steady increase in appeals for donations.
The Health ministry has procured three additional cold rooms as well as eight additional fridges and freezers, a move that is expected to go a long way in ensuring no one lacks blood in the country.
The Covid-19 pandemic worsened the shortage crisis as people shunned going to hospitals, coupled with closure of colleges and schools.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe while inspecting the Meru county blood bank on Friday encouraged counties without blood establishments to set up with assistance from the National Blood Transfusion Services.
“Blood is now readily available in our regional blood banks and facilities in need of blood can do a requisition. The ministry has embarked on strengthening accountability mechanisms through a phased approach,” he added.
Currently, Kenya collects about 250,000 to 300,000 units of blood per year. The country needs at least one million pints of blood every year, leaving a huge gap that needs urgent intervention.
According to KNBTS CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo, the government is keen in expanding blood collection centres.
“We have started to do reviews, renovations on our blood banks and that is really changing what we can and cannot do not across the regions because we want to bring as much capacity as possible,” Nduku said.
Reports of blood donated in the country being sold to neighbouring Somalia further complicates the situation, with Kenyans losing trust in the process.
The poor donation culture worsened by the effects of the pandemic made an already bad situation works.