Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maseno University blood donation drive: Saving a life

The BloodLink tent ready for donors at graduation square.

The Maseno University community participated in blood donation drive to help curb shortage of the precious liquid in the country. The 20th and 21st event at the varsity graduation square helped produce 155 pints of blood, 41 less in the last semester’s drive.

The drive was facilitated by Bloodlink foundation partnering with Kenya Blood Transfusion Services in universities and tertiary colleges in the Western region of the country. The varsity Red Cross chapter provided volunteers and mobilized donors.

The pints collected will aid patients in Nyanza, Western and part of Rift Valley provinces.

“Although the pints felt short to the anticipated 300 units, we appreciate the students for their positive turnout even though there were no incentives like t-shirts” said Beatrice Wango, Bloodlink foundation assistant officer.

Ms Wango observed the fear of students knowing their status and lack of confidentiality although blood donation doesn’t include VCT services.

Most of the students who turned up told Equator Weekly that the need to help save someone’s life prompted the act of charity. The blood collected will help accident victims, pregnant mothers in labour, anaemic and surgery patients amongst others.

“What made me donate blood today is the thought of a pregnant mother in labour needing urgent blood transfusion” said Jean Viva, a 2nd year Special education student. Miss. Viva is a sixth-time donor whose friend’s mother died due to lack of blood after an accident.

Buxton Chavani, a 3rd year environmental science student, who was a first time donor urged others to help save lives. “There is no negative effect in donating because it is healthy and saves the patient in need” he said.

The donors benefited by knowing their blood group and being healthier because of replication of blood cells. Socially, it brings about  the feeling of being a hero through  helping someone in need too have a chance to live.

The need  for a blood bank was initiated after the 1998 bomb blast which caused  an acute blood shortage in the country. The Kenyan government and the US aid the bank has grown with the region having six donation centers where blood is labeled in groups and sorted.

“we make a living in life by what we have but make life by what we give, that is why we are mandated to collected blood from voluntary donors.’ Said Albert Onyango, the regional blood recruiter.

According to Mr. Onyango, the region offers only 60% of blood needed due to  the unpredictability of donors and financial constraints. Although the varsity drive will help reach the target of 25,000 units.

“We appreciate the students who turned up today. Those who didn’t come need to find time to donate blood and help others in need” said Sylevester Odero the current chairman of Kenya Red Cross Maseno University chapter.

Brendah Kibulo co-authored this post published on Equator Weekly

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