NBSZ to shore up blood bank

HARARE - The country’s blood supplier, National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ),  has set a target of collecting 5 350 units of blood this month as it bids to replenish its stockpile which dramatically dwindled following riots which left six people dead two days after the conclusion of national harmonised elections.

This comes as government’s welcome decision to scrap user fees has seen a rise in the demand of blood, especially the common group O.

“Following the introduction of the Free Blood Initiative on 1 July 2018, NBSZ has revised its collections upwards from 70 000 to 87 000 units of blood and is targeting to collect 5 350 units of blood this August.

“The target for the first half year for blood collection was 35370 units; Actual number of units collected was 39788 units thereby surpassing the target by 12 percent.

“This was necessitated by increased demand from the distributions hence collections were scaled up to meet demand. Collections for blood group ‘O’ constituted 55 percent of total collections. NBSZ has since introduced additional mobile teams to curb with the increase in demand,” said NBSZ public relations officer Esther Massundah.

She the NBSZ has lined up a series of blood drives from August16 to August 30 2018, targeting youths, universities, corporate organisations, faith based organizations and the media.

“Blood is free in all government and Mission Hospitals. The initiative is however not applicable to patients on Medical Aid in government institutions or private patients in government institutions.”

“Blood donors…  do not get paid for donating blood as… Zimbabwe subscribes to the World Health Assembly resolution WHA 28:72 which urge all WHO member states to promote and support the establishment of sustainable blood transfusion services based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donation.

“Life is in the Blood and NBSZ appeals to the public to come through and donate blood so that there is enough blood for distribution to the hospitals,” Massundah said.

Last week, NBSZ made an urgent appeal for blood donations after its stocks dwindled perilously following the recent ugly clashes in Harare between opposition supporters and security agents, which left six people dead and dozens seriously injured.

In a distress call made on micro-blogging site Twitter, NBSZ said its blood bank had been severely depleted following the violence of August 1 — which broke out a day after Zimbabwe had just concluded its historic national elections to choose a new president, Parliament and local authority representatives.

“Following the political disturbances of last week, blood bank stock levels were negatively affected. We call upon on all those who are healthy to visit our clinics to donate blood.

“Those who are due for their next donation please visit any of our clinics near you before you break or travel for the Heroes holiday,” it said.

But the peaceful campaigns and a camaraderie spirit that had characterised the run-up to the elections were sullied in the aftermath of the elections when deadly violence broke out in Harare’s central business district (CBD), following a clash between opposition supporters and security agents.

Six people subsequently died when the army, which had apparently been called in to assist in managing the situation, used live ammunition to break the ugly protests.

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