The Directorate of Criminal Investigations is investigating officers of the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) believed to be part of a cartel that has allegedly been siphoning blood donated by Kenyans and selling it in Somalia.
The case opened on Wednesday last week is seeking to find out roles played out by KNBTS officers in creating an artificial blood shortage in the country by illegally selling what is meant to be supplied to Kenyan hospitals.
Speaking to Citizen TV on Wednesday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe acknowledged receiving reports on the illegal sale of blood in the country, terming it as unfortunate.
Kagwe could, however, not divulge much details on the illegal blood sale, but pointed out that the matter was under probe by the DCI.
Earlier in a statement dated March 6, 2020 and copied to the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti the Health CS blamed the blood shortage on the cartel, which he said is operating within and outside the country.
“The Ministry is aware that there are criminal elements both within and outside the country who are colluding with outsiders to escalate the problems pertaining to blood countrywide,” said Kagwe.
“These cartels have been engaged in blood trade within as well as outside the country for selfish gain without any regard to women and children who are dying in hospitals as a result of this shortage.”
The Health CS has urged the DCI to expedite investigations into the illegal blood sale before the situation gets out of hand.
In the interview with Citizen TV on Wednesday, Kagwe highlighted that the Health Ministry is putting in place measures of ensuring the issue of blood shortage is dealth with once and for all.
These include a Bill to govern donation, processing and distribution of blood as well as setting up of an ICT system to trace the movement of blood from the source to the final stage when its transfused to a patient.
Concerns over blood shortage in the country hit headlines last year after several counties including Nakuru, Machakos, Garissa and Kisumu reporting severe shortage, with the blame being directed towards the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS).
KNBTS, which has been Kenya’s only blood bank, collecting, testing, processing and distributing blood and blood products to all transfusing hospitals in Kenya, however cited funding as their challenge.
According to KNBTS, following the withdrawal of the U.S government’s, PEPFAR funding, the blood bank has been running dry.