Bleeding is the biggest direct cause of maternal deaths in Tanzania and other sub-Saharan Africa countries. Almost 50,000 women who died in childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa did so because of bleeding. Data show that about 26% of maternal deaths were directly due to a lack of blood.
Here in Tanzania, Ummy Mwalimu, Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children says that 40% of the 556 maternal deaths, could be served if our Blood Banks were stuffed with sufficient blood. What a sad revelation. Imagine saving lives by a simple act of love and compassionate, by giving blood.
Boost to Tanzania National Blood Transfusion (TNBTS)
According to Ummy Mwalimu, it is clear that the government is determined to address blood shortage in our Blood Banks. The Minister said yesterday at one of the blood donation center in Dar es Salaam;
On our side, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children will continue strengthening Tanzania National Blood Transfusion by ensuring that there is enough human and financial resources so as to enable TNBTS to carry out its mandate efficiently and effectively
In the 2016/2017 budget, NBTS was allocated 4.5 billion Tanzanian Shillings for blood collection and other related costs; according to the Minister, in the 2017/2018 budget the government has earmarked 5.5 billion Tanzanian Shillings.
Blood saves life, and it is essential that is blood that waits for patients and not the opposite. Once a pregnant woman starts bleeding she can only survive for two hours. I’m trying to imagine the situation, with nurses and doctors starts looking for blood to replenish the oozing blood. The woman will be lucky if voluntary blood donor will be found immediately, and from those belonging to her blood group. That is why we advise that it is always better to have blood readily available as emergency has no appointment.
What is being done?
To address this urgent need, the government has delegated blood collection responsibility to district councils, the TNBTS Communications Manager Rajab Mwenda said. They are supposed to earmark budgets from their own sources for the activity.
This system is attributed to the success recorded in 2016. A press statement issued by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children quotes that in 2016 Tanzania collected 196,735 blood units between January and December. They were only 65,000 in 2015. According to the available statistics, blood collection has tripled thanks to the new approach, an increasing political will and a strong TNBTS leadership.
Despite the impressive progress, blood banks in in the country are still understocked, leaving health facilities unprepared to provide the care patients need and deserve. Blood is urgently needed at many maternity facilities where women require units after delivery complications like haemorrhage or surgery. No mother should lose her life because there is no blood.
Want to save a Mama and baby’s life? Here is what you can do.
Find out where to give blood to save a mother and baby. Give blood, Give now. Give often.
For those in Dar es Salaam please visit Temeke, Mwananyamala, Sinza, Amana, Rangitatu, Vijibweni, Mnazi Mmoja hospitals and Karume Grounds Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute at Muhimbili National Hospital.
Those outside of Dar es Salaam please visit the nearby hospital or NBTS Center. Or Call +255716 610897 ask for Rajabu Mwenda.