By Lonah Abuga.
He was first attracted to donate blood so as to get the free snacks that are usually given to people just after donating blood. That was 30 years ago and he was a student at Pumwani High School in Nairobi. But that desire to eat the free bites soon turned into a lifestyle for one Kennedy Sanya and now he has even became an ambassador for blood donation in the country.
“Many students value food and therefore I did not find it hard to so because I wanted the goodies. However with time I realized the importance of the practice and it has turned out to be my lifestyle,” he said.
To date the man who works with the Kenya Police Service as a Prosecutor in Nakuru County and who has donated blood more than 78 times says he wants to see more people adopting the culture of blood donation so as to help those in need and save lives.
Speaking to the Kenya Monitor at an event to mark the World Blood Donation Day in Nakuru last week, Sanya said he usually gets a lot of satisfaction every time he donates blood as he believes it brings change in the recipients’ lives whom in most cases he may never have a chance of meeting them in life.
“Every ten minutes, there is someone receiving blood either in surgery or to replace lost blood,” he said from an informed point of view.
Sanya encouraged residents to put a side fear and start donating blood as medical facilities and hospitals across the country are experiencing blood shortage, a situation the Ministry has blamed on poor public perception against donating blood.
Apart from receiving an award from The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta last year for being the highest blood donor in the country, Sanya also received a Head of State Commendation (HSC) last year.
Lauding him the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS) Director Margaret Odour said there is a need to develop the tradition of donating blood among citizens.
“There is need to regularly give blood to prevent shortages in hospitals and clinics, particularly in remote areas where quantities are very limited,” she said.
Oduor who was also at the Nakuru event last week added that they usually take all necessary steps to avoid getting contaminated blood so there was no need to fear about the quality of what they have in the blood banks.
The World Blood Donor Day is usually held across the world every June 14. The theme for this year was
“Thank you for saving my life.”
According to the World Health Organization at about 108 million units of blood are collected every year.