In June, Bulamu Healthcare officially handed over a blood bank refrigerator to Awarch Health Center IV in Gulu District. Gulu’s Health Center IV received this support through Bulamu’s Maternal & Child Health (MCH) program, which provides multiple systems to public health facilities to improve MCH patient care and health outcomes.
The new blood refrigerator, procured for 7.5 million Ugandan shillings (approx. 2,083 USD), was officially handed over to the District Health Officer (DHO) of Gulu during a review meeting for the Clinical Support Team (CST) program. Bulamu’s CST program worked at this Health Center IV for eight weeks in early 2022, ahead of the Surgery Intensive (SI) program which treated more than 300 surgery patients in Gulu over one week in April 2022.
The 120-litre electric blood bank refrigerator is now in service at Awarch HC IV and is expected to support 24 government health facilities in the region that refer to Awarch. The equipment is expected to enhance the safe and convenient storage of whole blood and blood components such as plasma.
During the handover of the equipment, Dr. Cana Kenneth, DHO of Gulu, reiterated Bulamu’s commitment to complementing the Ugandan Ministry of Health’s work to make scarce services available in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. Dr. Cana explained that blood is mostly consumed by anemic children, mothers during and after delivery, accident victims, and other patients with high levels of socio-economic need.
“Sometimes we are unable to assist pregnant women who are in critical condition with surgery, because of an unreliable blood supply in the region,” he said. “We instead refer them to Gulu Hospital. In the past, we have also been losing a lot of blood because of lack of adequate storage. We thank Bulamu for this refrigerator because it will enable us store blood and avail it to the other facilities whenever they need it.”
Speaking at the same ceremony, Micheal Latigo, the Laboratory In-charge at Awarch HC IV, said the blood bank refrigerator donated by Bulamu will address challenges which other organisations have not been able to. He also appreciated Bulamu overall for the organization’s flexibility in addressing the various problems in the health sector.
Felix Moloya, the Assistant Laboratory Technician at Awarch HC IV, noted that the refrigerator will address the issue of blood shortage and referrals that have been at peak.
“This is the first blood bank refrigerator that Awarch region has ever received and the first time we will have constant blood bank services. Until now, the health centre relied on Gulu Hospital.”
Bulamu continues to work with Gulu and 11 other districts throughout Uganda through its Health Center Excellence program, which aims to strengthen Ministry of Health facilities serving under-privileged patients. As of mid-2022, the HCE program has ongoing partnerships with more than 260 MOH facilities that combined treat more than 2 million Ugandan patients per year.