Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, the Chief of Defence Staff of Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), along with other 15 people from Rwanda and abroad, have been awarded for consistently donating blood.
This was yesterday during the international celebrations of the World Blood Donor Day, an event that serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations.
Globally, the day was celebrated in Kigali.
Others recognised included Arjun Mainali, a 51-year-old US citizen who has donated blood 171 times around the world since 1987, as well as Jean Rwagasore, who has donated 87 times.
Gen. Nyamvumba, according to Dr Swaibu Gatare, the Division Manager of National Centre for Blood Transfusion, has donated blood after every three months since mid-2017.
Nyamvumba now wants to upgrade to every 15 days (donating platelets).
“Of course, it is exemplary when you see such a high-profile person donating blood regularly, every 90 days. It is motivating to the rest of the population,” Dr Gatare said.
“We call upon all other high-profile personalities to follow in the footsteps of Gen Patrick Nyamvumba.”
Jean Rwagasore, an 87-time donor, said: “The more blood I give the more I get the urge to save more lives, it’s a noble cause.”
International donor Arjun Mainali urged Rwandans to donate blood, at least once a year.
“There is no harm. Look at me, I am healthy, yet I have donated many times,” he said.
“It’s not an easy task but it is worthwhile because it is a sure way to save lives, for example women who could have died during delivery.”
Christine Ashimwe, a Rwandan who was transfused in 2017 due to a thrombosis, paid tribute to blood donors.
“Someone I don’t know has given me the opportunity to raise my three daughters,” she said.
Others awarded include Lt Col Joseph Balinda, from the Republican Guard, catholic priest Alphonse Ndagijimana, among others.
Also, fifteen different institutions were also awarded, including the RDF which has donated 8,147 units of blood since mid-2017, Rwanda National Police (4,845 units) since 2014, the Catholic Church, the Adventist Church and the Ministry of Education, among others.
Rwanda’s National Centre for Blood Transfusion collects close to 80,000 units of blood currently and all donations are 100 percent free.
Speaking during a recent interview, Dr. Jeanine Condo, the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said that some of the common recipients of blood transfusions in Rwanda are pregnant mothers who experience post-partum hemorrhage condition (bleeding after giving birth), malaria patients who delay to come to health facilities and develop anemia, cancer patients, as well as traffic accident victims.