National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) is adequately stocked at optimum capacity to meet the demands of health institutions as well as any eventualities that may occur, public affairs manager Ms Esther Massundah has said.
Speaking at a media education day in Gweru, Ms Massundah said they have increased their collections from 87 000 units in 2018 to the current expectation of 108 400 units this year.
“We are now calling for more people to donate blood so that our stocks remain at the optimum to cover any eventualities. We have increased our collections from 87 000 units in 2018 to our current expectation of 108 400 units this year,” she said
“We can safely inform you that our blood stocks are adequate to meet any needs. At least 50 percent of the blood we collect goes towards maternal health. Every time you donate blood chances are high that you are saving the life of a pregnant woman who may need to be given that blood.”
Ms Massundah said the organisation had been able to manage the demand for blood in the hospitals since government’s declaration to roll out free blood.
NBSZ has increased outreach teams to source more blood from all the corners of this country by implementing a marketing strategy to encourage public and private institutions to join the blood donation campaign.
She added that, government has been consistent in supporting their objectives and goals as an organisation to supply health institutions with blood all year round.
“With effect from July 2018, Government announced that it was going to offer free blood in all public health institutions in the country, which means it has been meeting all the costs of the patient for blood and blood products.
“Since then, government has never let us down in terms of funding.”
Meanwhile, NBSZ Gweru branch manager, Mr Lloyd Kawondera said the branch is currently supplying 15 health institutions in the Midlands province.
“We are happy that we have been able to meet the demand even after the free blood declaration. We continue to encourage people to donate blood as we normally have lower donations from adults than high school students, yet realistically adults need more blood that the youths.”
NBSZ Planning Information Research Manager Dr Tonderai Mapako said only third of the population is sustaining the blood donations.
“If you look at the statistics it shows that only 10 percent of the population in Zimbabwe donates blood, of which most of the blood donors are the school going children and the youth,” he said.
Mapako said adults contribute less as compared to the youth due to various reasons.
“The adult age of 31-70 years contributes about 14 percent of the blood while school going children of 16-20 years contributes 68 percent with youth of 21-30 years 18 percent respectively,” said Mapako.
He stated that the NBSZ has enough blood to meet the needs of all Zimbabweans.
“Our blood stock level as per standard is 5 days’ supply on daily blood bank which is enough to cater for all those in need of the blood in the country,” he said.
Mapako said keeping the blood supply below the 5 days standard blood bank will create complications.
“We don’t desire to keep 2 days’ supply on daily blood bank because we will not be able to react to the demand,” explained Mapako.