NATIONAL Blood Services Zimbabwe is planning to power its blood collection and storage centres on solar by December this year to mitigate the power outages affecting their operations.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Speaking to HealthTimes, NBSZ board chairperson Advocate Rodgers Matsikidze said they have been taking with the Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi to be placed on their neighbor Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals’ electricity grid.
My good brother Advocate Chasi said that they are looking at it and Zesa is also looking at it. What we have noted is the huge cost issue involved because it’s rerouting quite a number of points in terms of the linkages to the main lines that supply Parirenyatwa and ourselves,” he said.
He said they intend to have solar energy for most if not all of its centres.
“However, that is not the only solution we are looking at. We are actually going green. We are actually working on having solar for this whole building. This building running on solar power. And not only this one, even in Mutare, even in Masvingo. That’s what we are working on. So we are trying to see funding models that allow us to do that because even if you are on the main grid, sometimes with the main grids, we have seen electricity outages. As a result we cannot solely rely on that. We need to move and say let’s harness the plenty sunshine in the Sunshine City,” he said.
In terms of capacity, Advocate Matsikidzi said they have the capacity to store blood but however bemoaned electricity challenges.
“We have not been on the main grid with Parirenyatwa Hospital and we have been appealing to the Minister of Energy to say we want to be placed on the main grid that supports Parirenyatwa Hospital so that we don’t lose blood due to failure to process because of electricity. But mainly we have got to big generators supporting us but you know it’s very expensive.
“We had incidences of blood being discarded because during that time used frame when blood should be used, consumers have not been able to consume it all. There is no problem with that but it simply shows we are able to collect more. So in other words we have actually reduced some collection in some points so that we are able to collect what is adequate.
“But the reason is that we are looking at previous statistics, for example previous holidays where we know that there is high demand because of road traffic accidents. We collected a little more than enough but eventually we realised we had plenty than what was required during that period which is a plus actually.
“There is nothing wrong because we have storage facilities where store blood before processing it. We would want a situation like that than when we don’t have blood in the Blood Bank,” he said.
NBSZ Surpasses 2019 Blood Collection Target
NBSZ exceeded their target of collecting 108, 405 units of blood in 2019 by 25 percent.
Blood collections for the year 2018 were 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,
“We indeed managed to meet our targets because our collections were actually in excess probably by 25 percent or more of what we had targeted. I would attributed this to team work. We have noted that our management has been able to work as a team.
“They have been able to bring up results from every department. Now even under the new strategic plan, we have realised that we indeed have one of our strong points is our management which knows what it is doing. That’s a plus for us as an organisation,” said Advocate Matsikidzi.
Meanwhile, over 200 couples turned up for the Valentine’s Blood Drive last week where couples were recognized for their donations through getting accommodation vouchers sponsored by Cresta Hotels. There was a competition of couples posting their images donating blood with the ones getting the most reactions on Facebook and Twitter getting the prizes.
Getting the most reactions after an adjudication process was a Gweru couple of Mr and Mrs Mubariki followed by Mr and Mrs Goudis from Harare.
Mrs Noleen Goudis accompanied by her husband to collecte their prize said they donate blood regularly.
“We started together on Valentines together about three or four years ago. We decided to start donating. So this year, we did our regular donation on Valentine’s Day and suddenly got these surprises. Donating blood is really nice knowing you are helping others in hard times like this.
“So if we can help in little ways, that’s great and also as my husband alluded to earlier that you also feel better after donating. Your body gets a boost, everything gets rejuvenated so you have extra energy. I encourage people to donate often definitely. What do you have to lose? Its just a pint of blood,” she said.
She said they were amazed with the prize.
“Its amazing. Its so nice. You know times are hard in Zimbabwe and its nice to be appreciated especially when it’s a surprise. I hadn’t seen the advert leading up to the campaign so when I walked in and they said we have a hamper for you, can we put you on social media, I was like yeah, OK. So it’s a nice surprise in hard times which is great,” said the elated Mrs Goudis.