When someone has a loved one in the hospital who needs blood, the procedure is often an appeal to friends and relatives to donate. We have frequently experienced appeals on social media from people desperately in need of a blood donor. Moreover, in instances when there is a disaster, such as the Westgate attack in 2013, we end up with nationwide appeals for blood donors to show up.
But what if there was a way to end the blood shortages? What if there was a way to avoid the anxiety and frustrations of making calls and social media appeals for blood? Damu Sasa is a social enterprise that’s out to eradicate all these issues.
Damu Sasa is a social enterprise founded by the 2019 QHKA winners, Kilemi Thambura and his counterparts. The enterprise won the award under the category, the use of Information Technology to improve patient care. They created an end-to-end blood services information management system that supports blood sourcing, inventory management, transfusion management, and haemovigilance.
What do we mean by blood sourcing? Let’s say a hospital in Kitui, Ukambani location needs blood group O. The hospital can log into the system and check which healthcare facility nearest to them has blood group O. The system offers its users timeliness as they will be able to find a blood source ASAP. Similarly, maybe you are a potential blood donor but have no idea where to go and offer blood. The Damu Sasa app would help you locate the nearest center where you can donate.   
Most people are not informed about matters of blood transfusion, blood safety, and availability. Although blood transfusion saves lives, many patients in need of this service have limited access to safe blood. The WHO recommends that all activities related to blood collection, testing, processing, storage, and distribution be coordinated at the national level through effective organization and integration of blood supply networks. This integration is what Damu Sasa brings to the table.
The founders of the organization were motivated to develop the system after the Westgate terror attack. When Kenyans were alerted by the media to donate blood for the victims, there was a disconnect as only people in Nairobi could donate blood. The Director of Damu Sasa, Kilemi Thambura, says, “After the attack, only people in Nairobi were able to get to blood donation centers and donate blood. People outside of the city also wanted to donate blood, but not only did they not know where to go, but also the relevant authorities did not know there were people willing.”
Thanks to Damu-Sasa’s system, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities enjoy visibility as the system alerts them of willing blood donors and blood availability in blood donation centers. So far, the hospitals that have adopted the system report positive results in blood services. The adoption of the system is life-changing and impactful for both healthcare providers and patients.
Kilemi Thambura and his counterparts prove that we have what it takes to provide positive solutions to our country’s issues. They managed to leverage their IT skills to bring about an enduring change in blood transfusion services. Their efforts as social entrepreneurs have not gone unnoticed. During this COVID-19 pandemic, Damu Sasa, the Standard Group, and Amref partnered together to help combat blood shortage in the country.
The Ministry of Health states that Kenya needs at least 500,000 pints of blood annually to handle its needs. This translates to roughly 10% of the country’s 50 million people donating. Yet, the country only donates 164,000 pints of blood. Even if at least 1% of the country’s population donated blood, then the country would have at least 470,000 pints of blood.
Since its inception, Damu Sasa has played an active role in supporting safe blood transfusion services. Their system is a product of extensive and continuous research in blood donation and delivery service. As more and more health care services and potential donors continue to use their system, the country can hope for a better tomorrow in safer and efficient blood transfusion services.
Damu Sasa promises to help the community overcome the extremely diminished collection of blood. They presently have 72,001 registered donors and have touched the lives of 9000 people. You can connect with the Damu Sasa team on their Facebook.
Love this segment, it is golden. Simplicity is the mother of dummies like me..hahaa @firstname.lastname@example.org
_Assigned to CAROLINE MUIRURI_
_Marked as done_
hahaa…that’s what I keep telling the owners of Damu Sasa. But
kindly confirm if the hyperlink is correctly placed