Blood shortage in Nairobi after students take holiday break

Person donating blood [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) has begun a three-day blood donation exercise in Nairobi County following a shortage recorded after the December holidays.

Festus Koech, the KNBTS regional manager, said the exercise is targeting major blood donors to compensate for a shortage that was recorded during the December holiday period.

“I’m happy the donors are streaming in for the exercise and I hope we will collect enough units to bridge the shortage that is being experienced in Nairobi and beyond,” said Koech.

Koech said his team is optimistic they will collect up to 500 units of blood by the end of the exercise.

He noted that the shortage was experienced since universities and colleges had closed for the holidays.

“We normally rely on students, mostly in colleges and universities. All of them closed for holidays so we don’t have a lot of places to visit to collect blood,” said Koech, adding that student donors are safe and in most cases are willing to donate. 

The exercise will run from today until Saturday outside the Kenya National Archives in the city centre, as well as at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

According to KNBTS, the country requires at least 600,000 units of blood per year to meet demand, but the target is hardly reached. 

As a result of frequent blood shortages, patients who need blood transfusion are often forced to seek alternative sources.