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Tale Of A Woman Sentenced To Blood Transfusion For Life

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Tabitha Muthoni carries herself in a strong demeanor, but behind the strong and bubbly character is the heart wrenching story of a woman battling a rare medical condition that has sentenced her to blood transfusion for life.

Muthoni who is 35 years old was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a medical condition where the colon and the rectum become inflamed.

“I was around 16 years old when we found out that I was sick. What used to happen, I would go for a long and it would be pure blood, just blood,” she said.

At First, I did not know that I would undergo a blood transfusion for my entire life. So they thought I was just anaemic and just needed more blood. It is later on that they realized that I had ulcerative colitis and I will depend on people for blood for the rest of my life,” she narrates.

Before the diagnosis, the Nakuru born mother of two hoped from one hospital to another trying to find a solution to her recurring health condition. At some point one of the doctors told her that she will never give birth.

“I never knew I would have children. Can you imagine one doctor told me that due to my condition I was never going to have children?” she poses.

To manage her condition, Muthoni needs at least five units of blood every month and it is not just blood, it is the O Negative type that is rare to find.

While she gets her blood for free from the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service, Muthoni says that she has to set aside Ksh. 15,000 to Ksh. 20,000 every month for medicine to manage her condition and hospital bills.

“You have to set aside that amount for hospital bills incurred during transfusion every month because NHIF only pays a little cash and the other private insurers will not take you, you have a chronic disease.

The high demand for the O Negative blood has at some point forced her to give up her blood to more dire cases like accident victims. Muthoni recalls almost losing her life in 2016 after she was taken to theater with a low HB less blood to save her life after she had a still birth.

So desperate does she get that she is sometimes forced to look at crowds of people in terms of the number of blood units she can get from them

The collection of blood in Kenya had last year dropped from the 450 pints of blood per day to only 250 pints of blood per day.

Kenya National Blood Transfusion Chief Executive Officer Dr. Nduku Kilonzo says that Kenya needs a minimum of 500,000 pints per year in its storage.

“Our current levels are very low because we need a minimum of 500,000 pints in our banks for the whole country. So we are appealing to Kenyans to please give blood for because blood in our cater for emergency cases like accident victims and patients with chronic diseases,” says Kilonzo.

Blood in the KNBTS storage system is often used on emergency cases like accidents and chronic conditions.

The shelf life for donated blood is 35 days.

And as KNBTS continues with its drive to have Kenyans donate blood, Muthoni says her biggest job is to whisper prayers for those who donate blood to keep donating and to others as well to realise the need to donate blood since it keeps them alive.

The Ministry of Health today launched a national blood donation campaign ahead of the World Blood Donor Day, to be commemorated on Sunday June 14, 2020

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