Amref Health Africa, partners leverage technology to enhance blood access in Kenya
Amref Health Africa in Kenya, Advanced IT Solutions Limited (AISL) and Jacaranda Health have partnered in a scheme that will leverage technology to enhance blood access and reduce blood-related maternal deaths. This will be actualized using Damu-Sasa, a blood services management system developed by AISL.
This is in response to the perennial blood shortage facing health facilities across the country. While Kenya needs in excess of 500,000 units of blood a year, it only collects approximately 180,000 units according to the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS).
The partnership is expected to contribute towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through access to the timely blood supply. Amref Health Africa in Kenya and Advanced IT Solutions Limited will offer the technology to support improvement in blood donor management with the view to achieving increased voluntary donations.
“Most hospitals do not have enough blood in their banks and many people continue to die while waiting to receive blood,” noted Dr Elizabeth Wala, Programme Director for Health Systems Strengthening at Amref Health Africa in Kenya.
“The technology would improve the situation by ensuring that Jacaranda Health will have accurate information regarding blood-related matters. This would enhance their healthcare delivery services,” she said.
Damu-Sasa is a technology solution that maintains up to date information on the blood services value chain, including accurate donor databank through which timely donation appeals can be made, ensuring real-time observation of blood level fluctuations and improving reporting in real-time. The technology came out of the Presidential Digital Talent Programme (PDTP) initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015.
Speaking at the MoU signing, Catherine Ongeti, the Hospital Manager and Quality Improvement Lead, said that Jacaranda Health, in fulfilling its objectives to its clients, is committed to improving the way it delivers healthcare. “It is for this reason that we are signing this memorandum of understanding to address blood services delivery in the facility and its environment. Dealing with the issue of shortage of blood supports the UHC agenda and contributes to the United Nation Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs) attainment.”
Ms Ongeti further noted that for a long time, blood shortage has been a concern for the hospital and emphasised on leveraging Damu-Sasa to alleviate this. “We wish to thank our partners for the positive steps taken so far and look forward to realizing the promise of the technology and our relationship,” she concluded.
Through information sharing, Damu-Sasa enables collaboration among stakeholders in the blood services ecosystem, including health facilities, blood transfusion services, emergency services and governments. The result is efficiently and effectively managed the blood services ecosystem.
Francis Kilemi, Director at Advanced IT Solutions said that Jacaranda Health is positioned to reap the benefits of Damu-Sasa, which have been demonstrated through extensive testing at Kenya National Hospital. He added that waiving the costs associated with the modules for donor management (Donor Relationship Management Module) and information sharing across facilities (Network Module) is one
way the team is contributing towards the alleviation of blood shortage. He affirmed the team’s commitment to offering technology solutions that solve practical problems.