Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire

Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS) has blamed the current shortage of blood in hospitals on government’s failure to avail money that can procure enough reagents to test the fluid that is donated by people free of charge.

UBTS Executive Director Dr Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire said that her agency does not have the necessary reagents to test the blood. She said blood is tested to ensure that it is free of disease before it is taken to hospitals for use by patients in need of it.

She said about Shs 39.2 billion is needed to screen 300,000 units of blood to last the country the whole year. “Each unit of blood is screened at US$29 (about Shs107, 300),”she said.

The national referral hospitals in acute shortage of blood include; Mulago Hospital, Kawempe Hospital for the pregnant mothers and the cancer patients.

She says government has failed to assure the National Medical Stores (NMS) on paying for the needed reagents. NMS procures medicines and other materials for government hospitals from private suppliers.

Meanwhile Star Pharmaceuticals, the suppliers of reagents, have sent a batch that can only last a week.

Days ago, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija in a committal letter to NMS requested for supplies of reagents worth Shs10 billion on credit bringing the total Shs22.89 billion of the required Shs39.2 billion. The letter is dated Tuesday, January 22, 2019.