Nairobi, Kenya – 7 February 2019 – Terumo BCT, a global leader in blood component, therapeutic apheresis and cell therapy technologies, has expanded its footprint into sub-Saharan Africa. The company’s regional office in Nairobi will support better general healthcare by advocating for access to an adequate, safe and sustainable blood supply. The company will provide training and education to transfusion medicine professionals, innovative technologies to maximize blood donations and improve treatment options, and a local support infrastructure to build sustainable solutions in the region.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the amount of blood required to sustain an adequate level of health should be 10 units per 1,000 people or 1 percent of the population. This means a country with Kenya’s population size would require approximately 450,000 units of blood to be collected annually. Last year, the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) collected a total of 164,275 units of blood, about 91 percent of the annual target of 180,000 units. Every 10 minutes, about seven Kenyans need blood and are at risk of dying if it is not available, according to KNBTS. For Kenya to claim blood sufficiency, it needs at least 1 percent of the 45 million Kenyans to donate blood annually to equate 450,000 units of blood.
Together with stakeholders such as the KNBTS, Terumo BCT aims to address this shortage with the deployment of a donor management and retention program. The intent is to encourage first-time donors to transition to regular voluntary non-remunerated blood donations and establish a stable donor pool.
Focused on Improving Healthcare
“The decision to establish a presence in Nairobi is fueled by our mission to Contribute to Society through Healthcare,” said Hiroshi Nagumo, Senior Vice President, Blood Center Solutions, Terumo BCT. “Success of healthcare systems can only be achieved through a collaborative and sustainable approach. Opening an office in Nairobi enables us to work closely with our partners to contribute to locally supported initiatives, such as a donor management program.”
Terumo BCT believes that by collaborating to implement a donor management and retention program, it can help unleash human capital in terms of people and knowledge. Nagumo added, “We believe that as more people are exposed to and understanding the overall health benefits coming from an adequate, safe and sustainable blood supply, we will help build the capacity of communities to encourage and establish repeat blood donations.”
In the future, when there is an established pool of repeat blood donors, the company plans to shift its focus to the benefits of apheresis donations, which can provide therapeutic doses of platelets needed for the treatment of cancer patients.
Terumo BCT is working to align its ongoing education program to support the KNBTS strategy of reaching its donor management targets. Two donor management trainings have been completed with nearly 50 participants from the KNBTS and the general community, the first in November 2018 and the second completed today in conjunction with the official opening. Earlier in 2018, a training was held focused on platelet apheresis and attended by physicians, clinicians and blood bank experts. Future programs will include content on blood safety solutions such as pathogen reduction technology and leukoreduction of blood and blood components.
“We at the KNBTS are committed to ensuring a safe and adequate blood supply for the citizens of Kenya,” said Dr. Josephine Githaiga, Chief Executive Officer, KNBTS. “We welcome the collaboration with Terumo BCT that will help us achieve this goal. Our team have already started to implement some of the ideas from the first training given in November 2018. We encourage more public-private partnerships like this to help steer the health sector and ensure that Kenyans are able to access better healthcare.”
In addition to the education programs, Terumo BCT offers customers a unique combination of technologies. Its Blood Center Solutions segment has the depth and breadth of technology, software and expertise to help add each blood donation to a ready supply of safe transfusable blood with maximum efficiency. Terumo BCT’s Therapeutic Systems segment provides solutions to advance apheresis through innovative exchange therapies using centrifugal technologies. One example is red blood cell exchange using the Spectra Optia® Apheresis System for sickle cell disease patients. Finally, the Cellular Therapy Technologies and Autologous Biologics segments help clinicians harness the biologic potential of a patient’s own cells.
These programs are initially focused toward Kenya but can be expanded in the future to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dhingra, N. Estimate Blood Requirements – Search for a Global Standard, Management of Blood Transfusion Services. World Health Organization. Accessed January 25, 2019.
About Terumo BCT
Terumo BCT, a global leader in blood component, therapeutic apheresis and cell therapy technologies, is the only company with the unique combination of apheresis collections, manual and automated whole blood processing, and pathogen reduction technologies. We believe in the potential of blood to do even more for patients than it does today. This belief inspires our innovation and strengthens our collaboration with customers.
The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) was established in the year 2000 in the Ministry of Health. Its mission is to provide safe blood for all in an equitable, efficient and effective manner towards improved human health and quality of line in Kenya. Its mandate is to collect, test, and process and distribute blood and blood products to all transfusing hospitals in Kenya. KNBTS has six Regional Blood Transfusion Centres (RBTCs) namely Nairobi, Embu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa and 14 satellite centers located in Machakos, Kisii, Voi, Meru, Naivasha, Kakamega, Kericho, Nyeri, Garissa, Malindi, Thika, Lodwar, Bungoma and Kitale.