Five patients die each month over blood crisis

By: JOHN SHILITSA

A least five patients die every month at in Kakamega County due to lack of blood.

St Mary’s Mission Hospital administrator Michael Mugo said the situation could get worse since a regional blood bank at the Kakamega County Hospital has run dry.

“We refer most cases to the county hospital but, unfortunately, some die because of a blood shortage. Only the patients who make it to Kisumu, Eldoret or Nairobi survive,” Mr Mugo told the Nation yesterday.

He said most of the patients in need of blood suffer from diseases such as malaria, anaemia and other ailments.

Jennipher Mangala, a patient at the county hospital told the Nation her blood group is not available and she has been told to wait.

Mr Mugo said the county hospital and other health facilities in western Kenya lack a laboratory for testing blood donated in schools and villages.

“We send the samples to Nairobi for testing, and the process takes a long time,” said Mr Mugo.

County Health executive Penina Mukabane launched a public blood donation drive in a bid to boost supply. However, the campaign did not collect enough blood.

At the same time, services at Busia County Referral Hospital have been paralysed after more than 1,000 health workers went on strike.

Mr Isaiah Omondi, the chairman Kenya National Union of Nurses Busia County, said key issues among them non-remittance of statutory deductions must be addressed.

When the Nation visited the hospital, relatives were moving patients to private hospitals.

Those who spoke to the Nation said they have been told to discharge patients because of the strike.

“I want to take my uncle home because I have no money for a private hospital,” said Ms Mary Wekesa. said.

Acting Health chief officer Asoka Itur said the strike is uncalled for.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION