BLOOD collections for the year 2018 have been the highest since 2014, at the back of increased awareness and countrywide blood drives despite an increase in demand for blood which was brought about by the scrapping of blood user fees, the National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has said.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking to HealthTimes, NBSZ Public Affairs Manager, Esther Massundah said the coming in of the free blood initiative for all public health institutions resulted in NBSZ adjusting its 2018 annual collections target upwards by 25 percent from 70,000 to 87,000 units of blood.
“Collections as from July,1 2018 to November 30 2018, NBSZ collected 35,799 units. Collections increased by 17 percent as of 30 September 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Blood collections for 2018 are the highest since 2014.
“Our blood stocks levels nationally have over 5-days blood stock supply and we are intensifying blood collections to maintain this. In the coming year 2019, the national blood collections target has been set at 108,405 units of blood,” said Massundah.
NBSZ’s blood collections from January to June 2018 period rose to 39 787 units, 26 percent more than last year.
NBSZ activated its Festive Season Campaign on the 1st of November 2018 where it targets to collect 15,830 units of blood (November to December 2018). In the month of November 6,537 units of blood were collected.
The Youth Donor Month was activated on the 1st of December 2018 with a special youth donors day event held 7-8 December 2018.
“Through this event 1,960 youths were seen at the five NBSZ branches across the country and 1,742 units of blood were collected over the two day event. A series of blood drives are lined up covering all ten provinces through the NBSZ branches and will continue until the end of December 2018.
“NBSZ is encouraging both the adults and the youths to visit any of our branches in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare to donate blood. Follow the blood drive campaigns through the NBSZ social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.”
Meanwhile, government disbursed an amount to the tune of $4,7 million to the NBSZ to ensure stocks continue to meet demand that has risen significantly since blood in both public and mission hospitals was made free in July.
Before Government’s intervention, the price of blood was relatively higher than in the region, with a pint going for up to $250.