NHS Blood and Transplant Service Partnership with Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS)

1 April 2017

by Steve Morgan

In July 2016 NHSBT were delighted to announce that the Executive Team had approved a 5 year (2016-21) health partnership with the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS).

This is the story so far:

  • 2010 to 2014 – leadership development/customer care training support of UBTS in partnership with Pepal*
  • 2015 – formal request from Director, UBTS, for a long term health partnership / MoU
  • 2015 – NHSBT awarded scoping grant by THET
  • April 2016 – NHSBT scoping visit to Kampala, Uganda
  • July 2016 – NHSBT Executive agreed a 5 years health partnership

* A UK charity, comprising Pepal Foundation and wholly owned trading subsidiary Pepal Ltd

Since approving the partnership, we have made steady progress.  We have used the health partnership / “link” programme between NHS and Ugandan health organisations, to identify a potential partner organisation:-

  • Ugandan Maternal and New Born Hub, including Liverpool – Mulago Hospital health partnership, and 7 other UK – Uganda HPs, providing support in the form of biomedical engineering, infection control, and data collection. The Hub has a network of people in Uganda.  

NHSBT has engaged the Hub’s biomedical engineers in an audit of UBTS’ Fort Portal laboratory facilities, equipment and vehicles, identifying those that require maintenance or replacement, and the human resources required to maintain those assets.

NHSBT has also shipped a bloodmobile full of equipment to Uganda; it is scheduled to arrive at the Nakasero Blood centre in Kampala at the end of October 2016. 

NHSBT’s Director of Blood Donation has visited Uganda to assess the priority areas for NHSBT support, in conjunction with Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, Director, Uganda Blood Transfusion Service, and Pepal.  One issue that came to light was the reluctance amongst many Ugandans to donate blood, in part due to a fear of needles, and a lack of education regarding the time the body takes to recover from donation. 

The Co-operation Agreement is now being finalised, with input from both UBTS and NHSBT. The aim is very much one of mutual benefit. NHSBT will gain vital information from the partnership that will help in the quest to recruit more black and minority ethic blood, organ and tissue donors in the UK.

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