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American woos Malawian blood donors

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Founding President of the Blood Donors of America, Arjun Prasad Mainali, is in the country to woo people to donate blood to the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS).

The service continues failing to reach its target. Last year, MBTS targeted 80,000 to 100,000 units of blood but only managed to collect around 50,000 units.

Mainali, who also gave MBTS $1,000 (about K720,000) and donated blood for a 157th time, said he felt obliged to fly to Malawi and encourage potential blood donors to assist MBTS, having read about the struggles that blood collection faces in the country.

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“I thought of using the little money that I have from my job as an insurer to come here and encourage others to donate blood. Blood is not manufactured anywhere in the world and it is only human beings who can donate for fellow human beings,” he said.

Steven Kumwamba, who has donated blood for 116 times since 1987, concurred with Mainali, saying he finds it heartening to help those who need blood because he does not lose anything.

“For patients who need blood to survive, there is only one thing that can be done and that is the extraordinary kindness of those that donate the blood. We all owe our lives to a lot more people, some of whom we will never meet,” Kumwamba said.

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According to MBTS Public Relations Assistant for the Central Region, Upile Kaimvi, the shortfall means some people in critical need of blood had to rely on their relations while those who did not manage to get such assistance died needlessly.

Kaimvi has since appealed for more support from potential blood donors for MBTS to meet its target this year.

MBTS is mandated to provide adequate supplies of safe blood and blood products to meet the needs of all patients in all hospitals in the country and works with all central, district and other hospitals in the public and private sector.

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