THE National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has called on adults to take part in blood donation initiatives to boost blood stocks in the national blood bank, an organisation official said on Tuesday.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Since the beginning of the year, the NBSZ has embarked on several blood collection initiatives in a bid to maintain adequate stocks of blood as well as replenish stocks in line with their 2019 target of collecting 108, 405 units of blood.
Briefing the media on the activities lined up to the World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) as well as the organisation’s response to Cyclone Idai, NBSZ Planning, Information and Research Manager Dr Tonderai Mapako said 70 percent of blood donors in the country are youths.
“In Zimbabwe the youths contribute 70 percent of our blood collections and the adults are not really forthcoming. The adults are also the major consumers.
“In developed countries it’s the other way round where adults contribute more than the youth. So we are planning to increase their level of contribution to 30 or 40 percent through various activities. We have done programs at tertiary institutions such as University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to ensure that we attract these adults,” he said.
He also noted of the seasonal shortages of blood affecting not only Zimbabwe but the continent. However these challenges have been cushioned by their occasional blood drives.
NBSZ held the Valentine’s Blood Drive for Couples this year which lived up to billing.
Dr Mapako also said they are working on increasing the number of distribution points to improve accessibility of blood when needed for emergencies.
He also said the national blood bank is adequately stocked noting that the Cyclone Idai hit areas were well catered for as Manicaland is one of the areas with the highest number of blood collections.
Dr Mapako said the Harare Ladies Gala blood donor campaign held last Saturday lived up to expectations with 125 collections done out of a targeted 150.
He said these initiatives have helped keep the blood stocks at optimum levels.
NBSZ Public Relations Manager Ms Esther Massundah concurred with Dr Mapako adding that they are working in proving blood collection among adults by year end.
“This scenario is not only in Zimbabwe but in other countries like South Africa as well,” she said.
With the youth being the major blood donors while they are the most affected in Zimbabwe with HIV, Ms Massundah said they work with organisations such as National Aids Council of Zimbabwe in several projects such as discouraging risky sexual behaviours.
Meanwhile, NBSZ has started the engines for the WBDD campaign with Ms Massundah representing the country in Rwanda where she will deliver a presentation on how Zimbabwe is ferrying in terms of blood collection.
Observing the WBDD on June 14, the country will commemorate this day on July 6 in Manicaland province which was hard hit by Cyclone Idai.