Blood Bank Adequately Stocked For Free Blood Initiative

THE free blood initiative being spearheaded by the ministry of health and child care in partnership with the National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) kicks off in a few days amidst indications that the blood bank has enough stock to sustain the program.

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking in an interview with HealthTimes, NBSZ Public Affairs manager, Esther Massundah said all  was is place for the free blood initiative which commences July, 1 2018 across all public hospitals while for private hospitals, the user fees remain at $120.

“NBSZ is prepared for the free blood initiative and since the announcement through the MoHCC, NBSZ has been working hard to ensure that the blood bank is well stocked.

We have conducted publicity campaigns to bring awareness of this initiative and the need for regular blood donors, and new donors to come and donate. Awareness campaigns on the free blood initiative were carried out through our World Blood Donor campaign to sensitize the public on the need to donate blood.  We have also put additional mobile teams for our two big branches Harare and Bulawayo which cover a wider geographical area and we also intensified donor calling,” said Massundah.

She added that the blood bank was adequately stocked for July 1, even on blood group O side which used to experience massive stock outs.

“Hopefully there will be an improvement in the ordering pattern of blood groups by the hospitals who have in the past being mainly ordering blood group O causing the group O stocks to be depleted. At the moment there is no deficit of group O.”

 

She also said plans were already in place for holiday blood drives for both adults and youth programmes as they work towards increasing blood collection. 

“We also intend to look at increasing blood collection sites as well as increase radius distance for blood collections, increase blood drives and partnership engagements, work with community based organizations in educating different communities about the blood programme.

“We are also looking at intensifying blood donor calling as well as intensify awareness campaigns through the Hashtag #Free blood initiative campaigns,” said Massundah.

However, the bulk of blood at the blood bank is coming from schools dotted around the country. Massundah hinted that the ipending long school holiday which is paving way for the harmonised elections would not compromise blood stcokcs as they have also put mechanisms in place to lure more adult donors.

“The school holiday  will not compromise the free blood initiative. We are expecting more people to come and donate blood, as the
blood is now accessible to the poor as and when they need it.

“This has already started, we as  NBSZ are working to increase both adult and youth panels and  NBSZ already has in place, planned activities for the school holiday period and opening up more adults will come and donate blood as it will be free.”

NBSZ also hopes that the new blood clinic in the Bulawayo CBD would improve blood stocks on the southern side of the country due to its accessibility to the general public.

Meanwhile, the organisation is looking at increasing Community engagement programmes,  Publicity programmes,  Adult centered Blood Drive campaigns and through the NBSZ branch adult blood donor committees have different blood drive. There are also  programmes to recruit more adult donors.

Speaking at World Blood Donor day celebrations in Gweru recently, NBSZ Chief Executive Officer, Ms Lucy Marowa however warned of a surge in the demand for the blood commodity as there are no barriers to accessing blood anymore.

 

 

 

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