MTN Uganda Foundation 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 state-of-the-art blood refrigerator, was handed over to the Mbale Municipality Women MP, Hon. Nakayenze Connie in a ceremony held today at the regional blood bank in Mbale district.
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 the country’s target of 340,000 units.
As a result, MTN Uganda committed to step in, investing UGX 347 million shillings to procure equipment that includes; an automated plasma extractor and three refrigerators. This year, the Uganda Blood Bank is aiming to collect 300,000 units of blood.
While the automated plasma extractor will be stationed at the Nakasero Blood Bank, a blood storage refrigerator will be delivered to each of the three respective regional blood banks. Mbale is the second regional blood bank to receive its equipment after Mbarara which received theirs early last month on the 3rd October 2019. Arua is set to receive theirs in due course.
While handing over the equipment, Mr. Bryan Mbasa, the Ag Senior Manager MTN Foundation, reiterated that MTN Uganda is committed to supporting the Government of Uganda’s goal of 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 Ministry of Health in ensuring that Ugandans have access to enough blood and blood components across the country,” Mr. Bryan Mbasa.
While receiving the equipment, Hon. Nakayenze, who was also the guest of honor thanked 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 shortage issues that arise from lack of adequate storage of donated blood to save lives,” Hon. Nakayenze 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: In September this year, the MTN Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Ministry of Health briefed the country on the progress of plans to implement maternal health improvement projects to a tune of UGX1.33 billion. Of that money, UGX 600 million was collected from the 2018 MTN Kampala Marathon and regional runs, and the top up raised by MTN Foundation in commemoration of MTN Uganda’s 20th anniversary celebration.
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 namely; Muyembe HC IV in Bulambuli district, Pakwach HC IV in Pakwach district, Kalangala HC IV in Kalangala district, 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 brand’s 20th anniversary regional celebrations. Arua, Gulu, Lira, Kabarole, Hoima, Kiruhura, Kabale and Budaka were the beneficiary districts from this initiative.
In addition to renovating and refurbishing maternity wards, the MTN Foundation revamped their family planning units and provided the facilities with solar energy, water and sanitation facilities to ensure that mothers not only plan for their pregnancies but give life in dignity and comfort.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!