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This year’s celebrations themed  attracted interest from the university staff, students and the community. The aim of the blood donation drive was to raise awareness and draw attention to the significance of blood donation and blood donors.  

2 red crossFrom left: Prof. Peter Bukhala, Mr. Maurice Rapada, Prof. Solomon Shibairo, Mr. Kennedy Mulama and Dr. Tecla Sum.

The Standard Chartered bank team, led by the Western Kenya Regional Manager, Mr. Gabriel Ochieng’ and Mr. Mulama Kennedy from Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu, paid a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo. The group discussed possible areas of partnerships including the current research accounts that the Standard Chartered Bank is currently managing for the University. Prof. Shibairo was also briefed about the ‘Host-to-Host’ digital partnership product, a system where collections and payments are made and receipted seamlessly through the bank’s accounts department.

“This system minimizes losses due to the timely access of the accounts activities, eases reconciliation as well as the added advantage of the seamless retrieval of receipts. As we deepen our relationship in sustainability, we wish to do more for MMUST in banking by enabling access to real time account balances and accounting for funds collected by the institution,” said Mr. Vincent Mulumbi. Other products which were discussed during the courtesy call were; individual banking options with regard to investments and staff medical care scheme with Aga Khan Hospital. 

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo thanked the partners for extending a hand of support towards the blood donation drive, in particular The Standard Chartered Bank and Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu. “We need people to donate blood and I strongly urge my staff to come out in large numbers and take part in this great initiative. I want us to stand with the Kenyan community especially those in need of blood as we can only support through donating,” he stated.

Speaking during the official launch of the drive, the Chair of Department Trauma and Emergency Medicine/Paramedicine, Dr. Tecla Sum highlighted that trauma is pervasive in societies worldwide, making it a global public health concern. “For a patient, accessing timely blood transfusion can be a determinant of life or death. We need to donate blood consistently, to ensure regular supply in our blood banks and hospitals. This is not only essential in our daily lives but also during accidents or other emergency situations that often occur without notice or selecting its victims,” she added.

Notably, Dr. Sum pointed out an observation that most people do not donate blood out of fear and misleading myths. She confidently confirmed that the exercise does not entail testing the donor’s blood HIV status or other personal conditions but rather the donor’s HB (blood volume) and pressure as a pre-assessment strategy to determine suitability of the donor. 

3 red crossChairman, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences-MMUST, Mr. Fidelis Mambo.

The Western Region Manager of Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Gabriel Ochieng’ pointed out that blood is expensive and no one can afford it. Decrying the scarcity of blood in Kenya, Mr. Ochieng’ urged the participants to be more inclined to give, saying that once they have donated, they can always use their donor’s card and save a life without having to donate again or be forced to buy.  

“MMUST’s partnership with Standard Chartered Banks gets stickier and stickier. As a pioneer University that started the Virtual Marathon which was successfully done last year, we are going to do it even bigger and better come October this year. I look forward to more partnerships with MMUST,” noted Mr. Ochieng’ as he commented on the two institution’s long standing partnership.

 Representing the Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu, Mr. Kennedy Mulama echoed Dr. Sum’s sentiments saying that there are many emergency trauma cases at the point of entry at emergency departments in hospitals. He noted that patients tend to have lost a lot of blood by the time they arrive at the hospital. He confirmed that the blood donation initiatives are emergency interventions targeted at saving the lives of patients.

“Our intention through this blood donation drive is to mobilize as many people as possible to donate blood. We understand that blood is insufficient in our blood donor banks and this is another avenue that we reach out to the population to donate blood and boost supply in our banks,” said Mr. Mulama.  

He appreciated the partnership Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu has with MMUST and expressed hope that this will go beyond this particular initiative. “With this Blood Donation Drive and many more partnerships coming, we look forward to strengthening our partnership for the benefit of the community we serve and University fraternity,” added Mr. Mulama.

Research indicates that Kenya’s demand for blood is very high compared to the units collected by the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS). There have been questions around mismanagement of this scarce resource, which has led to serious shortage of blood in our hospitals. Families, relatives and friends of patients have had to put out calls for people to donate as others make appeals on social media for the public to come through to save the lives of their loved ones. These concerns need to be addressed to give the public confidence in voluntarily donating blood to save lives.

By Caren Nekesa 

Photos by Kyama Justus 

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