Giving blood in solidarity with Burundi, “a collective responsibility”

Bujumbura, Burundi, 24 June 2022 – The National Blood Transfusion Center (CNTS) and the Government of Burundi held a blood donation event today to raise awareness on the need of blood to refurnish the national stocks, and eventually save lives. Along with the center, Enabel Agence belge de développement, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), influential personalities, Burundians and the international community are also participating in the donation on Friday and Saturday, 24 and 25 June, showing solidarity and supporting pressing needs in Burundi.

In Burundi, children under five years old suffering from malaria, malnutrition or anemia, and pregnant women are part of the most vulnerable amongst the country’s population, and hence most in need of blood transfusions. The National Blood Transfusion Center (CNTS), in charge of blood collection and transfusion in Burundi, warns of the significant lack of blood donations in the country, which unfortunately accounts for only close to half the volume recommended by WHO to ensure the transfusion needs of patients (5.41 donations per 1000 inhabitants when at least 10 per 1,000 are needed). Rapid and sufficient availability of blood can save lives - for example, in sub-Saharan Africa, up to 75% of maternal deaths are directly linked to complications during pregnancy or birth who require transfusion to save the lives of mother and child.

Dr Félicien Nzotungwanayo, the director of the CNTS explains “Voluntary blood donation remains a concern for the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS. Indeed, one of the challenges faced by the centre is the lack of awareness at the community level.”

To support the CNTS in raising awareness for increased blood donations – following the opening by the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS of the World Blood Donor Day celebrated on June 14th, the CNTS, IOM Burundi and Enabel Agence belge de développement are organizing a blood donation drive mobilization.

Several influential personalities came to give blood and support on June 24th at the CNTS to draw attention to the importance of blood donation. Anaïs Niragira is a Burundian journalist and influencer. After donating she said “There are women who lose their life while giving life because of the lack of available blood. As a mom, I feel concerned and that is why I give blood today. I hope my contribution can inspire other to do the same”. Everyone can give blood at the CNTS all year long, from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 4pm. There are also regional collection centres in Gitega, Ngozi, Cibitoke, Ruyigi and Muyinga.

Members of the international community came alongside their colleagues from Burundi to the IOM clinic to donate as well, on the 24th and the 25th.

IOM Burundi’s capacity holds medical staff responsible for projects aimed at enhancing physical and mental health of migrants and border communities (in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS), as well as staff to run the IOM Clinic in Bujumbura, where migration health assessment services are provided to immigrants and refugees for the purpose of resettlement in third countries.

“We are relying on our infrastructure – the IOM Clinic – but also and mostly on the skills of our team, who is working hand in hand with the CNTS team and Enabel Agence belge de développement, to encourage the international community to help replenish the Burundian blood bank. Saving lives thanks to blood donations is a collective responsibility” declares Vijaya Souri, Chief of Mission of IOM in Burundi.

This activity is part of the Resilience project which aims to contribute to strengthening the resilience of the Burundian population, thanks to the financial support of the European Union. Enabel Agence belge de développement and IOM Burundi are among the organizations that implement one of the health components of this project, together with a consortium, and part of the wider effort of the Government of Burundi to increase access to quality health.

The bags of blood collected during those two days are donated to the CNTS blood bank. The aim of this initiative is to encourage blood donation to become a widespread and regular act of solidarity in Burundi.


Triffin Ntore IOM Burundi, tntore@iom.int Tel +257 75 150 145
Laëtitia Romain IOM Burundi, lromain@iom.int Tel +257 79 99 96 93

IOM Burundi’s press releases are available on www.reliefweb.int.