Amref Health Africa and technology solutions firm Advanced IT Solutions (AISL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to scale up blood availability in hospitals through a Blood Services Information Management System dubbed Damu Sasa.
The solution is an innovation that came out of the Presidential Digital Talent Programme (PDTP) launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015. Damu Sasa was developed to maintain up-to-date information in the blood services value chain. This includes maintaining an accurate donor databank through which timely donation appeals can be made during emergencies, ensuring real-time observation of blood level fluctuations and improving their real-time reporting.
In addition, through information sharing, Damu Sasa enables collaboration among players in the blood services ecosystem thus making blood services management more efficient and effective.
Through this partnership, which will help advance the universal health coverage agenda through access to blood supply, Amref Health Africa will provide support to AISL through marketing the technology solution, development of health-related content, promote associated advocacy and offer other technical support. AISL in turn will focus on rolling out the Damu Sasa solution, supporting clients and enhancing the solution.
Amref Health Africa’s Programme Director for Health Systems Strengthening, Dr Elizabeth Wala said that most hospitals do not have enough blood in their banks and many people die while waiting to receive blood. The situation can be disastrous in case of accidents and other emergencies.
She added that the technology would improve the situation by ensuring blood banks have accurate data that would improve the effective use of blood as well as help with targeted donor appeals.
“Sourcing, distribution and management of blood services present various challenges in the country such as unforeseen blood shortfalls ad-hoc blood appeals during emergencies; limited real-time reporting; limited real-time blood traceability and hampered collaboration between transfusing facilities. This partnership will make use of a home-grown and innovative solution that will ensure that patients have a chance of accessing blood in times of need,” said Dr Wala.
The Damu Sasa solution has already been successfully piloted at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) over a period of nine months which was commenced in May 2017. The feedback from users has been very positive with the wish to have the system deployed in the hospital and adopted by others in the blood services ecosystem.
AISL Director, Mr Ochieng’ Ogunde said that in most cases, the management of blood services presents a number of challenges to health establishments and that this can be improved through a proper tracking system that captures up-to-date information.
According to Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS), Kenya needs an estimated 400,000 units of blood annually to cater for various medical needs yet it currently records a shortfall of about 250,000 units every year.
As the nation seeks to attain universal health coverage for all citizens by 2022, there is a great need to incorporate technology to catalyse this process. One such area is in the management of blood services where demonstrated technology assures improvement in the efficiency, safety and effectiveness of blood services management.