Amref Health Africa’s Dr. Elizabeth Wala and AISL Director Ochieng’ Ogunde

By Victor Magunamu, Kenya

Amref Health Africa and technology solutions firm Advanced IT Solutions (AISL) have partnered 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 data bank 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, 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 regretted that most hospitals do not have enough blood in their banks and many people die while waiting to receive blood.

She however said  that the technology would improve the situation through ensuring blood banks have accurate data that would improve 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. 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,” Wala said.

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.

According to AISL Director Ochieng’ Ogunde, 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.

 “Inefficiencies and inaccuracies in sourcing, tracking and dispensing blood has always been the main challenge for health establishments in Kenya and in most parts of Africa,’’ Ogunde said.

He added that Damu - Sasa will close this gap by providing a simple solution that links up all the stakeholders in blood donation and delivery service seamlessly.

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