Lawrence Munyao is alive today because someone has donated blood. He went to the river to fetch water one afternoon and felt a little tired. That night Lawrence was unable to sleep. He said that his heart was beating so loudly that he could feel it behind his neck. In the morning his mother took him to a doctor in Machakos, who referred him to Kenyatta National Hospital. A bone marrow test revealed that he had aplastic anaemia, which is caused by failure of the bone marrow to generate new blood cells of all types. The symptoms of aplastic anaemia are tiredness and a feeling of faintness, pale skin and shortness of breath, even after only little physical exertion. He told journalists in a roundtable at Internews that the marks on his skin are because he is bleeding under his skin. His blood does not clot, so even brushing his teeth can cause him to bleed for a whole day. Lawrence has been getting a blood transfusion every month since 2007. His life is pegged on a bone marrow transplant that will set him back almost 15 Million Kenya shillings. Three of the journalists attending the roundtable donated blood on the 14th of June, the day set aside to mark World blood donor day. Did you make your donation?
The four-year Health Media Project (HMP) launched in January 2013. It builds on the success of Internews’ Voices in Health media training program (2003-2012).