Here is a story of sickle cell clinic in Atutur hospital in Kumi district were we see more than eighty to one hundred and twenty sufferers of sickle cell disease on clinic day and always more than five are clinically transfused after medical examination and about ten who are diagnosed with complicated malaria end up with severe anemia which will end up needing blood transfusion. All together about fifteen to twenty children are transfused on every visit.
Atutur hospital is a government general hospital which does not have a blood bank of its own but depends on the regional blood bank found in Mbale about fifty kilometers away. There is no reliable transport to collect blood in case of stock outs. The regional blood bank supplies a large area that is the whole of Teso, Bugisu and north eastern region that is Karamoja region. The main Mbale hospital is also over whelmed with referrals of patients with anemia making blood never enough at the blood bank. This therefore means that whatever is supplied to the hospitals also is not enough to meet the demands that are there. The hospitals are left with two options if they have the blood the patients are transfused if not they are referred out.
This is a story of some of the patients that were members of the sickle cell clinic in Atutur hospital. Emma six years old boy coming from far place, three districts away was transported by crossing the lake by boat arrived at the hospital severely anaemic, luckily got blood available received a transfusion and treatment for the severe malaria and the infection that he had and was discharged in good general condition.
Moses twenty year old came with acute chest syndrome he received intravenous fluids and oxygen but this could not help solve the problem. Unfortunately there was no blood in the hospital and he had to be referred to Mbale hospital with the ambulance, there he got blood and his life was saved meanwhile Mary Gorreti five years old who was managed for severe malaria developed severe anemia, there was no blood in hospital and ambulance was not functioning she was referred but lacked money for public transport, this delayed her referral but the staff contributed money and she was taken by taxi she graciously reached Mbale hospital in critical state got transfusion and her life was saved.
However,there smiles and faces that can never be seen again because they did not get blood.
Angela one year old sickler died on their way to hospital due to severe anemia she was delayed by means of transport as the parents were using motorcycle for bringing her to hospital.
Scovia Akiding fourteen year old sickler died in hospital where we were managing her for vaso occlusive crisis she developed severe anemia and at a time there was no blood in the hospital and there was no means of transport for referral. Her life wasted away in that way.
This is representative of the many stories we always see. Any sickler is liable to need blood transfusion in there life at one time, this would need blood to be available at every facility of care which is not always the case, this also frustrates us as health workers attending to this patients but we remain hopeful for better days to come when no life will be lost because of no blood or transport to collect it.
Blood is vital for all of us, we all live because blood is running in our veins the moment it stops we stop existing, blood is necessity for life.
Blood is a tissue fluid that flows in all our vessels. Its unique fluid in that it has only one manufacturer that is human being unlike other fluids that have many factories. It’s as important as taking the next breath, without it no one lives.