Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A blood shortage has hit Moroto Regional referral hospital amidst high cases of gunshot victims and malaria patients in need of blood transfusions. The crisis has forced medics to postpone surgeries and refer some patients to private health facilities, majorly Matany missionary hospital in Napak district.
Jennifer Echaat, a Senior Principal assistant nursing officer at Moroto Regional Refferal Hospital told URN that there is a surging demand for blood transfusion among patients with malaria, gunshot victims, and mothers in the labor ward yet the supply is very low. Echaat said the slowdown in blood collection has affected their work causing some delays for the people scheduled for surgeries.
According to Echaat, they need about 100 units of blood for at least two weeks but what is collected from the community is very low and sometimes does not match the blood group required for a patient. “Our hope is only in the schools now, if they resume then we shall be able to get enough blood but for now, we are really struggling,” she said.
She appealed to the general public to support blood donations so that they are able to save lives and cut costs for movements outside the region for blood.
In December 2022, the community of Nadunget trading center teamed up and chased away the medics who had gone for a blood donation drive. Simon Peter Lotem, the LC3 chairperson for Nadunget sub-county said in order to achieve the target for blood collections, the government should consider bringing food to attract blood donors.
Lotem noted that it is not proper to take someone’s blood and only give them a packet of biscuits and soda and yet they lack food in their houses. “We understand the crisis in the hospital but again look at the people you target for blood donations, they are malnourished so how do you get blood from such a person who is fighting for his life due to lack of food?” Lotem asked.
He said the community understands the value of blood donation but some conditions like hunger have forced them to abandon the exercise.
John Robert Adupa, the LC3 sub-county chairperson of Lotisan sub-county in Moroto district said that there is fear in the community of seeing their own blood being removed and that is why the health department should do much to create awareness and build trust that blood donation is for their own good.
Adupa observed that the community can be convinced to donate blood but it is also risky to remove blood from someone who is weak and hungry. In September 2022, Moroto Regional Referral hospital established its own blood collection center.