Blood donor day in Kenya is coming up soon. Bloody blood donation. That long scary needle hits differently on the arm. Better pray it does not go out of position because it’s raw pain all over again.
But hey, a thirsty boy with a thing for freebies has to take a cold bottle of “Fanta passion” on a hot, dry afternoon. Heck, I would do the same on a cold rainy day. My appetite knows no weather. For me Blood Donor Day In Kenya holds a very special place in my life story.
Like many other Kenyans, I only routinely donated blood while in high school. Statistics credit three quarters of the blood donated in Kenya to secondary school students. The motivation; a warm soft drink and a few slices of United bread. Sometimes It was a packet of Britania biscuits.
Over-reliance on high schools for blood creates an acute shortage during holidays. Well, this has to change if we want to have a viable blood bank.
The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) has a mandate to collect, screen, process and distribute blood and its components across health facilities in the country.
Since its formation, it has been consistent in increasing blood bank volumes over the years. However, set targets have continued to elude it. We just never have enough blood donated to meet the World Health Organization’s recommended reserve of at least 1% of the population.
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Blood Donor Day In Kenya Woes.
Kenyans are superstitious about being pricked by a needle and blood being drawn. “Mbona unanininyonya damu?” asks my uncle whenever I hoover around him or stand too close to his person. And no, it is not a joke to him.
Needless to say, he will not take kindly to a needle being poked into his vein. When I raised this subject with him, his response had me in stitches. “A man only bleeds at initiation and when at war. The latter I did, the former I have successfully avoided.”
Furthermore, KNBTS is underfunded, understaffed and has poor coordination in its activities. As a result, blood is only sufficiently donated when there is a disaster that receives wide media coverage.
For routine medical needs of hemophiliacs, the anemic, accident victims and post delivery ladies, hospitals lack blood. It is common to hear of blood appeals on social media and of hospitals charging for blood. How can a freely donated item be sold?
Donated blood is only viable for 35 days and platelets a mere week. Therefore, we have to be smart about how blood is collected. If a majority of those between 16-65 years of age were to donate thrice annually, our blood banks would never have a shortage.
Hey, please purpose to donate whenever you can. The blood bank will be there for you if you ever need a transfusion. Endure some pain so that another person may gain some health. The tiny rivulet that trickles from your arm, pumped by squeezing a rubber ball, goes a long way in creating a blood reservoir.
Personally, I would love to donate as much blood as is safely possible. Consistent donations by half or more of the Kenyan population would sufficiently plug our blood shortages. Lets paint the blood banks red and make every day blood donation day!
The African principle of Ubuntu in apt summary; if others are not happy then I cannot be happy. My soul will not rest easy knowing that I will be buried or cremated with perfectly good cornea.
I belong to the school of thought that my body only holds my spirit and I will pass this way only once. Afterwards, I will roam the realm for seventy days haunting people before I officially cross over into the next world.
Once I am far gone(dead or brain dead), any of my organs that can be salvaged to save another life should be harvested. I intend to leave instructions to that effect in my last wishes.
IN A NUTSHELL
The field of medical research has made great strides in blood, tissue and organ donation. Surgeons are making breakthroughs and pushing societal boundaries. Imagine someone walking around with a transplanted liver, heart, kidney, inner ear and male member.
Transplants are possible for almost every major organ in the human body. As such, dialogue needs to opened on organ donation. I support a legal framework which discourages black market trade of organs.
The body is sacred in both cultural and religious circles.
What do the holy books have to say about something that was an impossibility in the era in which they were composed?
Be a Blood Donor Day In Kenya hero, remember to save a life!
Lukos Enigma Maximus out.