THE National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has assured citizens that blood and blood products are still free in all public health institutions.
By Michael Gwarisa
The call follows a blood price list which is making rounds on social media suggesting that the blood blank has increased blood user fees in all health institutions.
In a statement, NBSZ Public Affairs manager, Ms Esther Massundah said the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) made an adjustment to the user fees of blood using the interbank rate which will see a unit of blood from NBSZ pegged at RTGS$2160.
“Blood and blood products are available free of charge to patients accessing treatment from non-private wards of public health institutions only. User fees for blood and blood products will be charged for patients in all private health institutions and in private wards of public institutions, as well as for all those on medical aid cover.
“Blood and blood products are also accessed free of charge from the Council Hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo only. Hospitals are allowed to charge an administration fee of 5% on the blood and blood products. The cost of producing a safe unit of blood is US$120, which is recovered at the prevailing bank rate,” said Ms Massundah.
She added that this production cost has been the same for the past five years and this is the very same fee that the government is paying to the NBSZ for every unit of product that is issued to a patient in the public institutions. It is not different from the fee that is levied to private hospitals because the blood products are of the exact same quality all round.
“Whilst blood is donated for free, there is a value chain between its donation and transfusion to the patient, and this value chain costs US$120, an amount that the NBSZ is recovering from the user in order to continue operating as a going concern. There is no profit that is made from blood and the financial statements of NBSZ are publicly available for scrutiny as testament to this.
“The Government of Zimbabwe decided to introduce the free blood initiative in July 2018 and thus the Government pays NBSZ the full amount for every unit utilized in the public health institutions. Our statement of the 8th of October 2019 published in the Herald and News Day on the user fees of blood & blood products remains the same.”
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