Blood bank needs funding: Mujuru

HARARE - National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) is a critical institution which should be adequately funded to ensure lives are saved, a top government official has said.

Vice President Joice Mujuru says the institution is central in the enjoyment of the right to health in Zimbabwe.

“There are also no short cuts in the processes, as all procedures need to be religiously followed,” Mujuru said during a tour of NBSZ yesterday.  “The need for sophisticated equipment to carry out these processes and the accompanying need for periodic and timely maintenance of such equipment, cannot be over emphasised. It is therefore critical that this life saving institution be adequately funded.

“As the vice president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, it is also my responsibility to encourage government, through Treasury, the private sector and other players, to keep this institution functional.”

NBSZ is currently selling blood units at $130 per unit.

However, according to NBSZ spokesperson Esther Masunda, the price is pushed up along the distribution chain as hospitals, particularly private, add administrative costs.

The blood units range from $180 to $230 in some hospitals. 

Many Zimbabweans feel short-changed on the basis that the blood is donated for free. NBSZ argues the $130 is just to cover the duplicate tests on HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis.

Mujuru said while the institution has been doing well given the harsh economic situation, the price remains prohibitive to many Zimbabweans.

She said stakeholders should pool resources to fund operations of the national blood bank while it continually rationalises production costs.

“There is need for a good balancing act between affordability by the average cash paying patient and the costs of providing a quality standard service,” Mujuru said. “This can only be attained through adequate funding and an effective cost rationalisation exercise so that a balance is attained and sustained.”

At least 100 000 units of blood are transfused in Zimbabwe annually.

Childbirth complications consume 40 percent of the blood, 25 percent is taken up by children and other medical cases; while the remainder is used in surgery.

Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said policymakers were treating the institution as a “remainder”.

“The issue of blood is often not seen as part of health delivery, it is seen as an aside, as a remainder,” Parirenyatwa  said. “I think this meeting is to try and bring that altogether, to look at health in that holistic manner and fit in the NBSZ where it should be fitted into.”

The National Aids Council (Nac) donated $200 600 to   NBSZ for the procurement of blood screening reagents yesterday.

Deputy Health minister Paul Chimedza said the provision of safe blood was pivotal in eliminating new HIV infections in the country.

“Transfusion of safe blood is a major element of overall HIV prevention strategies,” he said.

Nac board chair David Mutambara said: “With dwindling resources for the blood bank and the high cost of blood, it is impossible to achieve universal access.”

Zimbabwe has 1, 2 million people living with HIV.

Comments (7)

teurai ropa. pamairiteura maiti muchazoriwanepi

shon corner - 13 May 2014

"As the vice president of the republic of Zimbabwe......" you should be ashamed of yourself Mai Mujuru. Why don't you lead by example and donate some money to this institution to show us that you're a caring mother. I'm pretty sure you can afford whatwith your 15 or so farms in Mashonaland.

Dr Know - 13 May 2014

vanaMatibili vanongopiwa mahara isu tonzi bhadharai $230 for a pint. Ivo ndivo vne mapurazi 15, mari zhinji 5mill to spend on weddings etc. iSU VAROMBO TISU TONGOROHWA PASI PETSOKA!

Tongogara - 13 May 2014

hama dzedu zhinji dzapera nokuti hatisi kukwanisa kuzoriwana, toranai ikoko. kuno rakagwamba

Chidondova - 13 May 2014

I have stopped donating blood anyone wants my blood you have to pay for it U$230 an unit

Innocent Chokureva - 14 May 2014

I have stopped donating blood anyone wants my blood you have to pay for it U$230 a unit

Innocent Chokureva - 14 May 2014

I have stopped donating blood anyone wants my blood you have to pay for it U$230 a unit

Innocent Chokureva - 14 May 2014

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