Health facility owners face Sh1 million in fine or three-year imprisonment for sale of blood without health Cabinet Secretary’s clearance under a proposed law targeting a cartel said to be profiting from the trade.
The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (LNBTS) Bill, 2020 which is currently before Parliament, prohibits import or export of blood without the express permission by the Cabinet Secretary.
If approved, the proposed law sponsored by Muranga Women Representative and chair of the Health Committee Sabina Chege , will provide legal framework for activities relating to blood donation, testing, processing, safeguarding, transfusion and quality control.
“Any person who collects, stores, issues, distributes or otherwise trades in blood and blood products in contravention of provisions of this Act commits and offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million or imprisonment to a term not exceeding three years or to both,” it states
Last month, Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe disclosed that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations was working to dismantle a cartel said to have raided the national blood bank for export to Somalia. Official data shows that units of blood donated and stored by KNBTS fell to a three-year low of 155,600 in the year ending June 2019 against the demand of over one million units.
The Bill defines blood products as a therapeutic part of blood intended for transfusion, including red cells, granulocytes, platelets, plasma derivatives, circulating progenitor cells, bone marrow progenitor cells and umbilical cord progenitor cells that is prepared through whole blood methods or by aphaeresis.
County governments will be required by law to liaise with KNBTS in activities related to blood transfusion as health services is a function of county government in line with Part II of the Constitution.
The new Bill requires Health Cabinet Secretary to make regulations within a year of its enactment to guide import and export of blood and blood products, blood donor qualifications, blood banking, distribution, transportation, clinical use and haemovigilance.