Human blood occupied an important position in traditional Rwandan culture; it was a symbol of life, life-long friendship and unbreakable family bonds
Spilling blood was the ultimate crime and sharing it the highest honour. In order to seal a pact of friendship, the blood of two parties was mixed. It could be translated into “drinking each other”.
It was a lifetime bond that one was ready to lay down their lives for the other. Indeed, in Rwandan culture “blood is thicker than water”.
The importance of blood in the Rwandan culture was the reason the government spared no efforts so that even the most remote parts of the country could get access to blood. That is when it partnered with Zipline to use drones to airdrop blood and medicine within minutes.
So it was not surprising that yesterday, thousands flocked blood donation centres to coincide with World Blood Donors Day. As is usually the case is such important lifesaving efforts, the Rwanda Defence Forces led the way.
According to figures from Rwanda Biomedical Centre, there is no shortage of blood in our hospitals specifically because of the drone delivery service. But most importantly, people have been mobilized well enough that our blood bank does not buy blood. 100% is donated willingly unlike in some countries where voluntary donations stand at between 30 and 40 per cent.
The success of the blood drive is a mirror image of the whole health sector in the country; efficient and well organized because the leadership knows very well that a country’s prosperity is pegged on the wellbeing of its people.