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Blood collection centre launched at Mama Lucy Hospital

A first-of-its-kind SmartBank blood collection point has been launched at Nairobi’s Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital to help increase blood collection in the country.

The centre will leverage on the use of technology in blood collection in a bid to bridge the blood supply gap in Kenya by providing a low-cost and innovative solution to blood challenges in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Kenya blood demand is approximately one million units annually, however, the collection and donations hardly cover half of the demand.

The new facility will use next-generation technology including blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to improve blood collection, banking, and last-mile delivery to health care facilities.

This will be through an application, which one will log into to donate blood, that will schedule appointments for blood donors in such a way that they have a health officer ready to collect blood from them once they arrive eliminating the need to wait.

The system operationalized by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) in collaboration with Lifebank and the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS) will serve more than 2.1 million residents depending at Mama Lucy Hospital for healthcare services.

The facility will be the second public blood collection facility in Kenya apart from the Blood Transfusion Unit at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

Speaking during the launch of the facility, NMS boss Director-General Mohamed Badi said the commissioning of the facility is a significant milestone in improving blood sustainability in the country.

He stated that many patients suffer after failing to get access to blood.

Badi said there is a growing need for blood in hospitals and other health facilities with Nairobi alone requiring an estimated 50,000 units of blood to cater for arising medical needs.

“Having steady, reliable blood supply is key to saving lives as blood transfusion is a key component in healthcare saving lives of millions every year. As NMS, we are committed to setting up more blood collection centres in partnership with the KNBTS and many more like-minded partners,” said Badi.

NMS Health Services Director Dr. Ouma Oluga said out of women who die during childbirth at KNH, almost half of them are due to post-partum hemorrhage with about nine patients daily having had to have their surgeries cancelled due to shortage of blood.

“We could save many with the availability of blood. Apart from helping in the collection of blood, it will also help in separation of blood and having to take blood specimen to KNBTS for screening,” he said.

KNBTS Director Dr. Nduku Kilonzo said blood-banking is key and having a steady, reliable blood supply is critical towards addressing national disasters and saving lives.

She said progress has been made in the last four months in blood collection in the country with KNBTS collecting 63,000 units since the start of the year.