Plans are underway to expand the National Centre for Blood Transfusion (NCBT) to other parts of the country in the course of this year.
Currently, there are only five operational regional centres; Kigali, Huye, Musanze, Rwamagana and Karongi.
Renovations are ongoing in Rubavu and Rusizi (Gihundwe) districts where the new NCBT will be based before operations begin this year.
The revelation was made by the Acting Director for the Kigali Regional Centre, Dr Swaib Gatare, yesterday, during a blood donation event by US Embassy staff.
Health facilities in Rusizi have been getting blood from Huye and those in Rubavu get it from Musanze.
“We want to provide easy access to blood so that patients don’t have to travel long distances. Our target is to increase the number of repeat donors who can donate blood after every three months to help save the lives of Rwandans,” Gatare said.
He commended Rwandans for their generosity in donating blood stressing that citizens have been willingly donating blood without a lot of persuasion.
Gatare however noted that the majority of their donors are based in rural areas but were carrying out sensitisation campaigns to encourage city dwellers, several institutions and universities to join the cause.
Basing on statistics from the blood transfusion centre, they collected 40,985 units of blood in 2010. Although last year’s data is not yet out, they expect to have collected at least 45,000 in 2011.
Each person donates 450 millilitres of blood which is equivalent to one unit of blood.
A security guard at the American Embassy, Jean De dieu Twagirayezu, said he was happy to donate blood as he was aware he would be saving a life.
At least 100 staff members at the embassy were projected to have donated blood by the end of the exercise.