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Damu Sasa & University of Nairobi Partner to tackle Blood Management Problem in Kenya

Damu Sasa & University of Nairobi Partner to tackle Blood Management Problem in Kenya

Damu Sasa System Limited has entered into an agreement with the University of Nairobi to conduct research on blood services management and technology in Kenya.

The study, which is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada with Villgro Africa as the administering agency, will focus on understanding the blood services ecosystem in Kenya, ways in which blood donations can be enhanced, and how technology can be utilized to improve the situation.

According to the WHO, Kenya needs close to one million units of blood every year. However, this target is rarely achieved, with the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) collecting approximately 30% of the optimal target.

“The perennial problem calls for a systematic approach to understanding the dimensions of the causes of the poor response to donations,” said Dr Matunda Nyanchama, the Damu Sasa Executive Chairman. “Only then can there be an optimal solution to alleviate things in the current situation,” he added.

The study is expected to benefit the healthcare industry with insights that could lead to innovative practices to boost blood donations and entrench a sustainable donation culture. It will be carried in 47 counties, and target public, private and mission-managed healthcare transfusion facilities, as well as the Kenyan public.

The project underlines the IDRC’s commitment to supporting projects that have high impact potential on the lives of the people. On their part, Villgro Africa is committed to assisting start-ups whose work has high potential to benefit society in the continent and the rest of the world. In the past, Villgro Africa has supported Damu Sasa to build technology capabilities that enabled blood donations to continue even in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic, specifically the physical distance requirements.

Speaking at the project inauguration, University of Nairobi’s Prof. Julius A. Ogeng'o, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of academic affairs said, “there is a need for elevated collaboration between academic institutions and industry.” He added that the University of Nairobi, a regional leader in research and teaching, “has adequate and fully-qualified resources to support initiatives such as this one.” He took note of the multi-disciplinary composition of the team, saying that most problems in society today need such an approach of diverse expertise and experience.

Prof. Ogeng’o, a medical doctor with long experience in practice and academia, underlined the importance of the initiative and the potential it has to provide solutions aimed at saving lives.  

Prof. Vincent Machuki, of the School of Business and Management Science, the principal investigator, affirmed the research team’s commitment to ensure the project meets its objectives. He expressed confidence that the outcomes will be a major contribution that could shape both the needed healthcare solution but also provide technology and business insights into a critical aspect of healthcare in the country.

Present at the event were the two Damu Sasa co-founders, Aaron Ogunde and Francis Kilemi, Amadi Growman of Villgro Africa, and members of the research team, Dr. Ken Ogolla (School of Business and Management Science) and Dr. Khamati Shilabukha (Research Fellow at the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies). Other members of the team include Dr. Kibet Shikuku, a haematologist at the School of Health Sciences and Prof. Evans Aosa of the School of Business and Management Science.

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Damu-Sasa is an innovative end-to-end blood services information management system. It supports blood sourcing, inventory management, transfusion management and even haemovigilance. Damu-Sasa came through the Presidential Digital Talent Programme (PDTP) where it grew in both vision and mission. Damu-Sasa is cloud-based thus presenting users in the blood services value-chain with the unique opportunity to collectively coordinate associated activities. The data it provides enhances decision-making, thereby resulting in effective management of blood services. This in turn leads to reduced costs in the provision of healthcare.

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