Two fully equipped blood collection and transfusion centers are under construction in Rusizi and Rubavu districts, Western Province, to improve efficiency of blood donation and distribution across the country.
Financed by the Global Fund, the new centers, together with other six already existing collection centers in Kigali, Butare, Rwamagana, Karonji, Ruhengeri and Kyangugu, are expected to significantly contribute to the increasing blood donation and transfusion services in the country.
The Acting Director of the National Center for Blood Transfusion (RCBT), Dr Swaibu Gatare, said that the new collection centers will be of international standards complete with cooling facilities and blood testing tools.
“The new centers are expected to be operational as soon as possible so that no Rwandan ever loses his life because of lack of blood,” Dr Gatare said.
“We call upon all able Rwandans to donate blood because we have the facilities and manpower to do so. When they do, they will be saving lives.”
He, however, noted that the centers are majorly dependent on aid, a major hindrance to self sustenance which the management is trying to achieve.
The Global Fund together with the Center for Disease Control fund 85 percent of RCBT activities whereas the government funds 15 percent.
RCBT is currently undergoing a quality management system in line with accreditation standards required by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), the highest accreditation for blood banks in the world.
“When we are accredited by AABB, we will be recognized internationally for implementing commendable standards, but above all, blood donors and recipients will have confidence in us, knowing that they are safe,” he added.
Christian Ngarambe, a postgraduate surgeon at the University Teaching Hospital of Butare told The New Times that: “We have never lacked blood when we need it. Usually when there is a fatal accident, it takes a few minutes to get the right blood type for the victim.”
Statistics from RCBT indicate that blood collection was highest in 2010 with 40,982 blood bank units, compared to 40567 and 35495 units collected in 2009 and 2008 respectively.