Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 05 February 2020

How Autotransfusion Device Hemafuse Will Revolutionize Blood Access Across Africa

Hemafuse, a surgical autotransfusion device, will revolutionize blood access across Africa. Hemafuse is designed to salvage and recycle whole blood from cases of internal bleeding. The device can be used in both emergencies and scheduled procedures to recover blood from where it pools inside of a patient, into a blood bag, where it is immediately available to be re-transfused back to that same patient.

Hemafuse was created for patients suffering from internal bleeding resulting from trauma, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, or for use in planned surgeries. Hemafuse can be used in cases where there is no donor blood available, and even as the preferred option over donor blood. When compared to autotransfusion, the use of donor blood comes with a higher risk of disease transfer, increased length of stay, readmissions, and other complications.

Hemafuse is now used in 10 different hospitals across Kenya. Last month, Hemafuse received an endorsement from The First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta at the launch of the Nairobi Beyond Zero Medical Safari held at Uhuru Park Nairobi on January, 25 2020. The First Lady’s Beyond Zero Kenya initiative donated Hemafuse to Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital to aid in the reduction of maternal deaths.

During the event, Dr. Elizabeth Wala, Programme Director for Health Systems Strengthening at Amref Health Africa in Kenya, spoke about the importance of using a high-quality device to save lives. She announced that the Kenya Pharmacy and Poison Board have approved Hemafuse.

“Blood is a matter of life and death, the impact of this device is saving lives that could have been lost due to lack of blood. Achieving [Universal Health Coverage] requires innovations for essential medicines and health technologies that save lives. Hemafuse should be part of the essential medical devices in each hospital,” she added.

Use of the device is now being rolled out in Ghana, where it has already been used to save lives in cases of ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Dr. Gerald Osei-Owusu, a Medical Officer at Tema General, has used Hemafuse in several different surgeries. After experiencing Hemafuse first hand, he says the device cuts down on cost, the time it takes to save the patient, and reduces their recovery time.

“It’s a good device, I think it’s something we should use nationally and continentally... It makes life easier, work easier, and costs less. I think it’s a good device.”

Using Hemafuse to recycle a patient’s own blood saves the donor blood that is available for other patients who are not candidates for autotransfusion. Dr. Rafia Abanga, another Medical Officer at Tema General has experienced Hemafuse first hand, “The Hemafuse is a great device, I’ve used it only twice, it was much needed and helped save a young lady’s life. I am grateful to the person who invented this,” she added.

Autotransfusion reduces the risk of infection and disease transmission because using a patient’s own blood is safer than someone else’s. Dorothy Kesewah Denkyi, a theatre nurse at Tema General, explains her experience using Hemafuse and implementing autotransfusion. “Autotransfusion is the best...It’s better than giving someone [else’s] blood to the patient. So we are encouraging autotransfusion if that is what will help out. Now that Hemafuse is here [in Ghana], we are advocating to get more in the system. Every theatre should have one, if not one, two."

Hemafuse is now available at hospitals in Kenya and Ghana, and will be coming to hospitals across Africa. 

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Uganda Budgets Shs25bn To Fight Coronavirus, Sets Up Inter-Ministerial Committee

The government of Uganda has set up an inter-ministerial committee under the leadership of the prime minister to oversee the coordination of the preparedness activities against the spread of the coronavirus (2019-nCov) that has killed close to 500 people globally.

The minister for health Dr JaneRuth Aceng who pronounced the establishment of the inter-ministerial committee also said that her ministry has ‘developed a preparedness plan costed at Shs25bn for handling the threat of the epidemic.’

She said that Uganda has intensified its vigilance to quickly identify any suspected cases of coronavirus by enhancing the surveillance and reporting systems. A screening station has been set up at Entebbe International Airport and other national border entries.

Dr Aceng also revealed that health workers across the country and points of entry have been guided on how to identify, isolate, investigate and care for the suspected persons.

They have also been told how to report such cases and how to employ the standard infection prevention and control measure to avoid contracting the disease.

“All travellers arriving into the country will be screened and more emphasis will be put on those travelling in from China. All Ugandan nationals and foreigners travelling from China will undergo screening,” the minister said.

“Those found with signs and symptoms will be quarantined in the Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital and China-Uganda Friendship Hospital Naguru. Those without visible symptoms will be isolated and quarantined in their house after sensitization,” she added.

“Even without symptoms, infected persons may be infectious but this is in rare cases. They will be followed up for 14 days by our surveillance officers who will monitor them for signs and symptoms of the 2019-nCov on a daily basis,” she explained.

The minister further explained that after the 14 days, quarantined persons will only be released by the surveillance officers upon certification that they are okay.

She added that all travellers arriving into the country from China and the 23 countries with confirmed cases will be required to provide their personal details for purposes of follow up by the health workers and immigration officers carrying out the screening.

“We appealed to travellers to exercise discipline, care, compassion and responsibility when isolated,” the minister said.

Traces of coronavirus was first detected in China in December 2019. The virus has gone to spread to 25 other countries claiming the lives of 494 people in China. Infections outside China has risen to 156 and 24, 600 inside China. 

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