The Observer has established that on average, 12 patients are referred to Mulago hospital daily for blood transfusions. Dr Micheal Osinde, the hospital director, said in an interview last Thursday that at least five children die every day in the children’s ward due to the blood shortage. The casualty ward and pregnant mothers are also affected.
“This is the worst the blood shortage there has ever been. And because this is a regional referral hospital, we receive patients from about 10 districts,” he said.
According to him, it costs $80 to process one unit of blood. Jinja regional referral hospital needs at least 70 units of blood in a crisis-free week.
“We do not just get blood from a donor and transfuse it into the body of a recipient. It has to be processed first,” he said.
“We don’t have a single pint of blood for all the groups in the laboratory,” he said.
Asked what could have caused the shortage, Dr Osinde pinned it on funding gaps in the ministry. He said the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service had run short of money to collect, process and store blood by last December.