Yes, you read that right. Every 10 minutes, someone in Kenya needs blood. If you’re in a position to help, consider it a privilege. The person you help may be a victim of a vehicle accident, a mother giving birth, a child with anaemia or a patient undergoing surgery.
The blood you give may sometimes help as many as four people at once! And imagine this, just 3 teaspoonfuls of your blood can save a premature baby.
The highlight of the month so far has been Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Kenya marked the 20th anniversary of the US Embassy bombings in Nairobi that claimed over 250 lives and injured scores of others with a number of sombre activities. Notably, leading bookmakers, SportPesa were not left behind.
The attack was blamed on terror group Al Qaeda and it left a lasting scar on the nation. Two decades on from the atrocities and in partnership with the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS), SportPesa joined up for a donation drive in Nairobi.
“Knowing that my blood will be put to good use and even save a life makes me feel good,” Head of Customer service at SportPesa, Emily Gichuki who has donated blood in the past said after flagging off the exercise and donating her blood.
Following the success of the first initiative, SportPesa and KNBTS are planning to engage in similar drives in future.
On Tuesday, 44 vials of blood were collected from over 60 staff and other volunteers who gathered at the firm’s Customer Service offices at Sameer Business Park along Mombasa Road.
“This blood volume can save more than 100 patients and we had to turn away some willing donors due to various factors such as low blood count or medication,” the Head of KNBTS in Nairobi, Abdinassir Dahir.
Dahir hailed the impressive turnout by staff and other volunteers during the exercise that lasted from 8am local time (+3GMT) to 6pm.
“One unit of blood can save three to four people. For instance, we save the fresh frozen plasma to give people with burns. Children are the usually the beneficiaries of red blood cells.
“Demand for blood in Kenya is very high. One per cent of the general population need blood per year. But KNBTS only manages to get a third of that,” Dahir emphasised.
He explained once the collected blood is screened to ensure it is not contaminated, it is then freely issued to Government public and private hospitals, the military and other institutions that deal with saving lives as the country struggles to boost its blood bank.
Terry Mbatia, a Team Leader at SportPesa Customer Service and one of the organisers of the event echoed Dahir in lauding the partnership as she disclosed the motivation behind the initiative.
“The blood drive was very successful. We actually had willing blood donors who did not qualify to donate due to low blood count, breastfeeding and fresh tattoos or were on medication.
“Blood appeals are made daily. There are moments when hospitals lack blood, yet people are willing to donate,” Mbatia underscored the reason they mooted the idea.
She added the emphatic response from such a small group or potential volunteers had inspired them to roll out similar drives.
“We would actually want to have a bigger blood drive in future since people out there are willing to donate,” Mbatia told.
Beatrice Gathuku, who works at the Procurement Department, made her way to Sameer Park from the other end of town, Chancery Buildings, Valley Road where she is based to respond to the appeal.
“This was my first time donating blood. It was a good experience and not painful. The thought of saving lives adds joy in my life and I would do it again,” Gathuku enthused after her blood was accepted by KNBTS.