Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune, Director of Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, announced that Uganda will host the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) Congress from March 4 to 7.
According to Dr. Kyeyune, esteemed experts and stakeholders from across the continent will convene in Munyonyo for this significant event focused on transfusion medicine.
“This congress marks a milestone for Uganda, being the first time we host such a distinguished gathering,” said Dr. Kyeyune. “It presents an opportunity to foster collaboration and action towards enhancing blood transfusion practices continent-wide.”
Established in 1997, AfSBT advocates for the highest ethical and professional standards in blood transfusion across Africa, promoting safe, universally accessible, and sustainable national programs.
Dr. Kyeyune addressing journalists at media center on Monday, further emphasized that the congress serves as a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences, and exploring innovative approaches and technologies to sustain blood transfusion services in Africa.
Under the theme “Safe and Sustainable Blood Transfusion Services in Africa – Adopting Global Innovations and Technology Advancements,” the congress will host world-renowned experts, policymakers, and stakeholders, all contributing to advancing transfusion medicine and science.
According to World Health Organization guidelines, a country is deemed self sufficient in safe blood collection when it reaches 1% of its population.
Despite efforts, Uganda faces a blood deficit, collecting only 300,000 units annually out of the required 450,000 units for its population of about 45 million. With the population expected to reach 55 million by 2025, Dr. Dorothy urged the public to donate blood regularly, suggesting Valentine’s Day as an opportune time.
Dr. Charles Olaro, Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health, stressed the continuous need for blood donations and cautioned patients against prematurely complaining about blood shortages, noting the importance of matching blood groups.
Dr. Olaro highlighted government interventions to address the blood deficit but expressed dissatisfaction with foreign supplies, attributing recent shortages to specific regions’ reluctance to donate.
“The blood deficit in the country lately is largely attributed to many shortages from foreign supply since there specific regions that need blood but hardly donate,” he noted.
Dr. Kajja Isaac, a blood transfusion specialist from Makerere University, urged stakeholders to attend the congress to embrace new innovations in managing blood donors.