MTN Uganda Foundation has officially handed over blood storage equipment to the Mbale Regional blood bank under the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS). This is in a bid to address the issue of blood shortage born from inadequate blood storage facilities.
The equipment, a state-of-the-art blood refrigerator, was handed over to the Mbale Municipality Women MP, Hon. Nakayenza Connie in a ceremony held today at the Mbale Regional Blood Bank in Mbaledistrict.
UBTS is mandated to collect 1,200 units of blood daily to meet the country’s demand, however they are only able to collect under 800, units due to various challenges that range from access to funding and other logistics.
Statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that Uganda has an annual demand of about 340,000 units of blood but falls short by over 100,000 units. Last year, only 240,000 units were collected against a targeted 340,000 units in Uganda. This year, The Uganda Blood Bank is aiming to collect 300,000 units of blood.
As a result, MTN Uganda committed to step in, investing shs347 million shillingsto procure the equipment that includes; an automated plasma extractor and three refrigerators.
While theautomated plasma extractor will be stationed at the Nakasero Blood Bank, thethree blood storage refrigerators are to be delivered to the three respective regional blood banks. Mbarara becomes the first regional blood bank to receive its equipment. Arua and Mbale are set to receive theirs in due course.
While handing over the equipment, Ms. Enid Edroma, the General Manager, MTN Corporate Services reiterated that MTN Uganda is committed to supporting the government of Uganda towards meeting the Global Sustainable Development Goal No.3 which aims at ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
“We are proud of this partnership with the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services and the Ministry of Health in ensuring that Ugandans have access to enough blood and blood components across the country,” Ms. Edroma said.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Mbale District Health Officer, noted that the refrigerators will address the issue of blood shortage that has been arising from inadequate storage facilities.
While receiving the equipment,Hon. Nakayenzathanked the MTN Foundation for working together with the government for the good of the people of Uganda.
“Thank you MTN Foundation Uganda for this equipment. It will go a long way in addressing the blood shortageissues that arise from lack of adequate storage of donated blood to save lives,” Hon. Nakayenza said, “The MTN Foundation has shown its passion for maternal health. By supporting safe blood storage, more mothers will be saved since more blood will be available, thanks to this initiative.”
The MTN Foundation has cut its niche in supporting government health initiatives: Early this Month, the MTN Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Ministry of Health unveiled their progress of the plans to implement maternal health projects to a tune of Ushs1.33 billion. While Ushs 600 million was raised from the 2018 MTN Kampala and Regional Marathons, the other half is a top up from the MTN Foundation.
The funds are being used to complement efforts by the Ministry of Health to improve service delivery in 5 Health Centre IV facilities across Uganda namelyMuyembe HC IV in Bulambuli district, Pakwach HC IV in Pakwach district, Kalangala HC IV in Kalangaladistrict, Karugutu HC IV in Ntoroko district and Kawempe Women and Children Hospital in Kampala.
Early this year, the MTN Foundation refurbished eight Maternity wards in eight health center III facilities across the country during the MTN 20th anniversary celebrations.Arua, Gulu, Lira, Kabarole, Hoima, Kiruhura, Kabale and Mbale are the districts that were reached during this initiative.
In addition to renovating and refurbishing maternity wards, the MTN Foundation revamped their family planning units and also provided them with solar energy, water and sanitation facilities to ensure that mothers not only plan for their pregnancies but give life in dignity and comfort.