The proposed “Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) Act” establishes KNBTS as a State entity with the sole responsibility to regulate and co-ordinate blood transfusion services in Kenya.
It proposes a semi-autonomous centrally co-ordinated blood service with a specific mandate, structure and governance mechanisms to carry out blood transfusion services in the country in conjunction and with the involvement of the county government.
From the onset it is important to note that the World Health Assembly (WHA) to which Kenya is a signatory passed resolutions urging member states to enact effective legislative policies to govern operations of blood transfusion systems.
Secondly, through the Policy Guidelines on Blood Transfusion 2001, the Ministry of Health (MoH) committed itself to develop a comprehensive and well-coordinated national blood transfusion service
Also Parliament through the Health Act 2017 Part XI Section 85 provided for the establishment of the “Kenya National Blood transfusion Service” as a State entity while the Executive Order No.1 of 2018 clearly states that provision of blood and blood products is a national government function.
Further, an audit report of 2018 by the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Kenya Law Review Commission (KLRC) recommended the enactment of the KNBTS Act.
Several countries with a long tradition of public health legislation, for example, Australia, Canada, US, European Union, South Africa and Zimbabwe have already developed efficient and comprehensive framework legislation on blood transfusion.
The proposed “Kenya National Blood Transfusion” Act encompasses the promotion and protection of public health through measures that guarantee the availability, quality and safety, access and affordability, and appropriate use of blood and blood products.
The proposed act ensures that health authorities and other stakeholders coordinate their efforts to implement the measures necessary to achieve the aims of the proposed act.
The main highlights of the proposed Act are: to express government support, commitment and accountability to establish and maintain a blood system that will ensure the adequacy and safety of the blood transfusion service as an integral part of the National Health programme; to set up the legal framework to provide for the existence and organization of a co-ordinated network of blood transfusion services; in particular to define the statutory roles and responsibility of each of the stakeholders constituting the National Blood System: The national government through MoH, the county government, the board of directors, the National Blood Transfusion Service, and the components of the organisation to which certain responsibilities will been delegated; To guarantee the quality and safety, access, and appropriate use of blood products; To protect and promote the health of blood donors and of recipients of blood products; To provide for adequate financing of the blood transfusion system.
A recent press release by the Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO) therefore clearly shows that they have not read or do not understood this bill.
This Bill is not being created to establish positions for specific cadres but for the posterity of this country.
The proposed body will be a State entity that will be run and managed by the government not by private entities as KNULMO suggests.
The Bill lays out the minimum requirements and its highlight on a whole of section 4 is on the stringent measures to be taken to ensure that no private or state facility engages in testing of blood outside the required minimum local and international standards. Transfer the function of the blood service to medical doctors and pharmacist This Bill is about the administrative and technical aspects of the Bill.
At no point has it stated specific duties to any cadre of medical staff. The Bill is trying to cure the issue of perennial blood shortages and was developed with the involvement of all cadres involved and with knowledge of blood at KNBTS and its regional office including nurse, laboratory, technologists and medical doctors.
This proposed Bill endears to ensure availability, equitability and safety of blood and blood products thus safeguarding the right to health as envisioned in the constitution and towards attainment of universal health coverage (UHC) and attainment of millennium goals.
Prof. Donald Orinda, chairman Regional Society for Blood Transfusion
Joseph Wangendo, chairman Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service Bill – Stakeholder Consultative Committee
Dr. Peter Mwamba Maturi Hematologist/ Consultant, Kenyatta National Hospital