KNH addresses reports of discharging 10 cancer patients over blood shortage


KNH addresses reports of discharging 10 cancer patients over blood shortage
File Photo of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

In Summary

  • Board Chairman Nicholas Gumbo, in a statement released on Tuesday, said six out of the ten had a diagnosis of cancer but only two would require blood top up before the next outpatient treatment.
  • According to Mr. Gumbo, stable patients are often referred to a facility near the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS) to avoid long and unnecessary stay in the wards.

The Kenyatta National Hospital management has come out to address reports published in a local daily alleging that the facility last week discharged 10 cancer patients over blood shortage.

Board Chairman Nicholas Gumbo, in a statement released on Tuesday, said six out of the 10 – who were discharged from ward 1D — had a diagnosis of cancer but only two would require blood top up before the next outpatient treatment.

According to Gumbo, stable patients are often referred to a facility near the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS) to avoid long and unnecessary stay in the wards.

He however admitted that the country has been experiencing an acute shortage of blood saying the Ministry of Health has since taken charge of the matter and measures are in place to avail the commodity.

“The Kenyatta National Hospital-Blood Transfusion Unit in conjunction with the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS) have been working together in an effort to bridge the gap by conducting blood drives and mobilizing replacement donors,” said the KNH board boss.

“Currently, the hospital is able to mobilize 40 units per day against the demand of at least 200 units per day. This constitutes less than 20% of the requirement for normal operations.”

Mr. Gumbo added that KNH has, in line with Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the Big 4 Agenda, been conducting capacity building outreaches through which patients who require specialized services are identified and referred for care.

“The government in recognition of the increasing demand for specialized services has mandated KNH to operationalize the Othaya National Referral Hospital and this will also increase the demand for blood and blood components,” said Mr. Gumbo.

“The measures referred to in paragraph two will be useful although insufficient in addressing this increased demand. The KNH-Othaya Hospital is now running and is due for launch in a few weeks.”

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Story By Ian Omondi
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