Supporting Blood Transfusion Systems in Uganda

Background

In 2016, Knowledge for Change started to work in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and the Ugandan Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS) to support blood transfusion systems in Uganda. NHSBT and UBTS negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding, highlighting a complex range of interventions designed to improve the supply of blood to health facilities in Uganda.

K4C Involvement

K4C became involved in a number of these areas with an emphasis on Equipment Management; building on our existing Biomedical Engineering Project but also with more basic scoping and audit work to assess the needs of UBTS in the context of the withdrawal of major funding from a US NGO (PEPFAR). K4C have undertaken scoping studies in Regional Blood Collection Centres in Fort Portal (undertaken by K4C sponsored UK PhD researcher and a Ugandan biomedical engineer) and Mbarara (undertaken by a K4C UK biomedical engineering volunteer and Ugandan biomedical engineer). These studies included the preparation of equipment inventories and an initial analysis of operational systems.

Dr Victor Njoroge was awarded a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship, enabling him to spend 5 months at the University of Salford between September 2016 and February 2017. Victor has spent much of this time building on his Master’s Thesis on Autologous Blood Donation; with support from the Operating Department Practitioner Team at Salford Royal Hospital, we have begun to make plans for the introduction of cell salvage into the Ugandan health system. Working through NHSBT’s relationship with Haemonetics (a company providing Cell Salvage equipment to the NHS) we hope to be able to commence a Device Trial in 2017.

Future Plans

A further meeting is planned in March 2017 to take the partnership forward and make plans for the preparation of a Concept Paper on the future direction of our joint work in the context of PEPFAR funding withdrawal. This will include the development of a study on public attitudes towards blood donation in Uganda, supported by a K4C Ethical Placements Student from the University of Salford. The team will also be joined by a Graduate Management Trainee from NHSBT.

For further information on this work contact Professor Louise Ackers on H.L.Ackers@salford.ac.uk