By Frank Kamuntu
Bukoto: Thousands of Indians under the Indian Association of Uganda on Thursday celebrated the completion of 100 heart surgeries among Ugandans with a blood donation drive and dinner, which was held at Kabira Country Club, Bukoto.
This means that in the past few years the Association has through donations and charity campaigns helped 100 people live healthy lives after getting heart surgeries.
The celebration of ‘Completion of 100 Heart Surgeries’ was honoured by the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, who commended the Indian Association of Uganda for their selflessness and generosity.
He hailed the Association members for saving Ugandan children with heart problems by securing them free medical services in India. He also commended them for working closely with Uganda Blood Transfusion Services in the collection of blood to save Ugandans.
Rugunda also commended the Indian High Commission in Uganda for quickly processing documents for Ugandans who travel to India for medical assistance and other businesses.
“As you all know these days it’s hard to cross country boarders but at least the Indian High Commission has been flexible to our people who go to India for medical assistance and other businesses,” the Prime Minister said.
He lauded the Indian Association of Uganda for starting up the first Blood4Uganda Application, which is expected to boost awareness about blood donation, meaning that more people’s lives will be saved.
This App that is already on Play Store and iOS, aims at coordinating hospitals to quickly identify and locate willing blood donors and to rapidly respond to those in need of blood during emergencies.
The App also aims at helping medics identify available free blood through the partnering hospitals and also creating a database for the volunteers who can be approached in time of need and to ensure there is no shortage of blood in Ugandan hospitals.
This event was actively attended by a number of Ugandans who testified how they suffered heart complications but were saved by the Indian Association of Uganda. They included; Ms Emily from Bushenyi, who testified that the Indian Association saved her life when she was diagnosed with a heart problem at the age of two. She said she lived with the complication for some time because her parents couldn’t afford the expenses, till 2011 when she was sponsored by the Association to travel to India for surgery at Nayana Hospital, which rescued her life.
“I thank the Indian Association of Uganda for rescuing my life and restoring my hope of living healthy like others. I was born with a heart problem which was discovered when I was two years old. I had to endure the harsh situation and pain since my parents could not afford medical bills for my surgery. But in 2011 when I got a sponsorship from the Indian Association of Uganda and went for surgery at Nayana hospital. I am so grateful to the Indian Association of Uganda.” Emily testified.
On behalf of the Association, Mr. Kishor Dattani, the community co-ordinator for community blood donation drive, said that after completion of 100 heart surgeries they are expecting a tremendous increase of blood donation since they aim at boosting awareness about the campaign.
He further thanked Ugandans who save the lives of others by donating blood. He urged everyone to donate blood because there is always a challenge of insufficient blood at the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, which often leads to the death of people that need it.
Several companies promised to work with the Indian Association Of Uganda, among them Century Bottling Company, which was represented by Mr Simon Kaheru, the Public Affairs and Communications Director.
Kaheru said he donates blood four times a year and supported initiative of raising the number of units in the national blood bank. He pledged to raise Shs10m to further the campaign and promised to keep offering soft drinks to people who donate blood.