Uganda Blood Transfusion Services-UBTS wants parliament to increase its budget from 10 billion to 26 billion shillings so as to be able to fulfill its mandate. UBTS is mandated to collect and store blood, which is used for transfusion in emergency cases. However, Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, the Director of Uganda Blood Transfusion Services says due to lack of adequate funding, they are not able to procure equipment for collection of blood, organize national blood donation drives as planned and also recruit the needed staff.
She was appearing before the public accounts committee on Tuesday to respond to audit queries raised in the auditor General’s report for the financial year ending June 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. Byabazaire noted that UTBS seeks to increase its field team from 20 to 25 so as to collect enough blood. She says they would wish to collect 250,000 units of blood from the current 200,000 units.
She also said UBTS needs more funds to procure more blood collection vehicles and freezers to preserve the donated blood. Byabazaire also appealed to Members of Parliament to mobilize their electorate to donate blood in order to save lives saying that most people do not take blood donation seriously.
//Cue in: “we are asking our politicians…….
Cue out:….currently we are collecting”//
//Cue in: “members of parliament batuyambe…….
Cue out:……bajeti yaffe elinga obuwumbi”//
Responding to the query why there were gaps in blood collection,
Dr Byabazaire blamed it on the rise in the costs of the inputs.
She cited the hike in the costs of blood bags, fuel and vehicle maintenance saying that 80% of the blood is collected by mobile teams. According to the auditor’s general’s report, UTBS only collected184, 899 units of blood out of the 200,000Units of blood, which represented 92% performance. She further explained that in the year ended 30th June 2011 activities related to national elections negatively affected blood donor turnout for many sessions.
Dr Byabazaire was also quizzed about the payment of up to 262 Million shillings to UMEME before it had utilized the power. The report indicates that the money remained redundant on the UMEME account yet it could have been utilized by other Government entities. Dr Byabazaire explained that the payment was made in regards to upcountry Blood Banks in Gulu and Fort portal but these blood banks did not open up that financial year because of delays in completion.
She explained that the ministry of finance granted them authority to utilize the money to pay off bills at the center indicating that each month; UMEME gets 77 million shillings from its account to cover the bills