To complement government’s efforts in shoring up depleted blood banks, the Rotaract club of Kyambogo, District 9213, in conjunction with the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS), has organized voluntary blood donation and free health medical checkup for residents in Kampala.
Through their ‘Save a Life Project 2023’, the Rotaract club of Kyambogo which also partnered with clubs of; Kibul, Bweyogerere Namboole, Rubaga, Mengo Mutundwe, Nansana, Najeera, Kampala Central(Rock), Makindye, Sonde and Kitante; carried out Blood donation, Malaria testing, Hepatitis B and Syphilis screening, HIV testing and counseling, Free condom & HIV test kits dispensing and Health Education among other activities.
Speaking at the event, held at the freedom square commonly known as city square in Kampala Central, President Rotaract club of Kyambogo, Mr Travis Hamala, said the programme was part of the club’s area of focus and they seek to partner with malaria partners Uganda, Rotaract clubs and other organization to further their campaign.
‘’ Our target is to collect 800-1000 units of blood throughout the entire project. We also target to serve 1500 people. The main objective of this program is to serve as the club’s effort to support the country’s call to have more blood being donated to stock up on the depleted reserves in the blood banks’’, explained Hamala.
Hamala, who noted that the club is also focusing on economic development and community service, said part of its commitment to service is to donate blood and help solve problems of people with health challenges.
“We know what people go through in order to get blood when the need arises. And again, many people have not keyed into donating blood voluntarily. We want to use this to create awareness on why people should donate blood. It is beneficial to your health to donate blood,” added Hamala.
He urged Ugandans to support the blood donation initiative to ensure constant supply of blood in health institutions pointing out that shoring up blood banks would ensure its availability thus saving lives, especially that of expectant mothers during childbirth.
“It costs you nothing, after donating blood, you are not going to faint, nothing will happen to you. If every Ugandan youth keys into voluntary blood donation, there will be no issue of scarcity of blood’’, he noted further.
‘’Every year, we lose a significant number of people due to blood shortage which made us realize that the Save A Life project saves more lives than we ever imagined. It is hard to be at peace when you are losing loved ones which is why we think this project is very much in line with the Rotary areas of focus’’, noted another member of Rotaract club of Kyambogo.
One of the female donors who preferred anonymity said blood donation is about saving lives. “I believe that there is someone out there in need of blood. So, if am donating today, I am increasing the capacity of the blood banks and I could save a life.”
Ronald Kawaddwa, the chairperson of Mengo Rotary Blood Bank, encouraged the public to donate blood saying that several Ugandans are always in desperate need for blood.
‘’We need 450000 units of blood but currently there 350000 .The gap of 100,000 units of blood means that 1 person among the three who needs blood is likely to die due to that shortage’’,noted Kawadwa.
The Rotaract club of Kyambogo is a club of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 whose purpose to develop their knowledge and skill that will help them in personal development, have fun through service and to address the physical and social needs of their communities.
Every year, the club carries out a save a life project. The Save a Life Program is a project of the Rotaract Club of Kyambogo carried out together with various partners like Nakasero blood bank, Rotary Blood Bank and other Rotaract clubs, held at various premises.
The Save A Life Program is an annual health services and living campaign organized by the Rotaract Club of Kyambogo in order to promote healthy living and body awareness. The program is headlined by blood donation, HIV testing and Counseling, Breast and Cervical cancer screening and testing, Free condom dispensing, Nutrition education.
This Program has been running for at least 11 years and covers 4 key Rotary focus areas, which include; Disease prevention and treatment, Maternal and child health, Basic education and literacy and Economic and community development.
In 2019 and 2022, the club managed to collect 544 and 515 blood units respectively. As regards Hepatitis B vaccination, they had 110 tested and vaccinated in 2018, with the number rising to 147 in 2018. HIV Testing and Counselling, Condoms dispensing, and Nutrition classes have had the biggest numbers with each division averaging 650 people, 1200 people and 510 people in 2022, 2019 and 2018 respectively.
Previously,they have successfully partnered with the Uganda Police force and managed to cover three police barracks namely Naguru, Ntinda and Kireka.