By Faridah Nassereka
The Ministry of Health has refuted claims that there is blood shortage in hospitals across the country.
This follows news of a shortage of blood at Masindi hospital.
On Monday, Vincent Katusiime, the medical superintendent Masindi Hospital is quoted as saying that the facility has experienced blood shortage for over a week.
According to URN, in case of blood shortage Masindi hospital normally gets blood from Hoima Regional Referral Hospital which was also facing the same challenge.
But on Tuesday, the ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona said there was enough blood in the regional blood banks and hospitals should collect the blood units from the nearest blood centers.
He named Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) as well as Nakasero or Fort Portal blood banks.
Furthermore, Ainebyoona said about 32,000 units of blood are available.
“There were some slight interruptions that caused the delay in supply of testing reagents but there is nothing like shortage of blood. Everything is back to normal so the hospital is free to collect blood,” Ainebyoona told Watchdog.
Reagents are used to test blood for several infections before it is declared safe for use.
Dr Katusime had earlier said the patients in dire need of blood at his facility were new or expectant mothers as well as accident victims who were only surviving on God’s grace and mercy.
In addition to that, Dr Katusime decried the lack hepatitis B vaccine which had been depleted due to the huge turn up of people seeking to be immunized.
Ainebyona however called upon the government to allocate enough funds for blood testing kits which is the major cause for delay in disbursement of blood.
Last week, the UBTS director Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, said that for about two weeks, they have not been able to supply blood to health facilities across the country.
She blamed the lack of reagents for the shortage.
“Our standard policy is that all blood must be made safe before it is sent to hospitals,” she said.
A survey by Daily Monitor, a local daily, listed several health facilities across the country as having suffered blood shortage.
These included Jinja Regional Referral Hospital in Busoga Sub-region, Kibito Health Centre IV in Bunyangabu District, Rakai hospital, St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu District, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital as well as Mbale Regional Referral Hospital among others.