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Health ministry under probe over illegal blood trade

1 min read

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations is investigating staff in the Ministry of Health over claims of illegal trade in donated blood.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said there are claims that staff in the Health ministry sell donated blood outside Kenya.

Mr Kagwe did not give further details on the scandalous trade.

“We have asked the DCI to intervene and investigate the sale of blood outside the borders of this country. An investigation is ongoing and we expect arrests will be made,” he said.

The Health Ministry, which is in charge of blood donations in the country through the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS), for the past 15 years relied on the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar).

Pepfar supported blood collection, testing and policy issues in the country.

Pepfar cut funding last year, leaving the ministry in a dilemma on how to ensure the blood supply is at an optimum.

Pepfar, the cornerstone of US global health assistance, wanted to ensure quality assurance in HIV/Aids programmes in the country.

KNBTS records show these services were once done in hospitals, and it was cumbersome to ensure the transfused blood was “clean” of diseases.

From 2004 to date, Pepfar has disbursed Sh7.3 billion, which catered for 100 per cent of the services from a centralised point: buildings, vehicles, payment of staff, blood collection and screening for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C, information systems and even policy guidelines.

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