Updated: March 1, 2021
Hemafuse, a surgical auto-transfusion device, expected to revolutionize blood access across Africa, 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.
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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.”