THE National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has confirmed receipt of an amount to the tune of ZW$43.5 Million from treasury from an outstanding bill of ZW$125, 710, 200 Million, a move which is likely to ease operational constraints bedeviling the blood bank.
By Michael Gwarisa
The NBSZ had recently written to all public health institutions advising them of a suspension of the coupons facility which would grant them access to blood and blood products on credit. However owing to financial challenges, the facility had been suspended, paving way for a new system which would only grant hospitals access to blood and blood products on a cash upfront basis.
Speaking in an interview with HealthTimes, Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro confirmed that government had made a payment of ZW$43.5 Million to the NBSZ and the blood coupons suspension has been lifted effective immediately.
The move to suspend the blood coupons facility had been necessitated because there was late payment to the NBSZ. I want to tell you that we paid them yesterday ZW$43 Million which was transferred to their account.
“I am sure that suspension will be lifted because we have paid them what we owed them. It was paid yesterday so you can check if there is any balance but as of what they were demanding, we paid them yesterday. What they were demanding is what we paid, I discussed with the NBSZ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms Lucy Marowa and told them that we were paying yesterday and its paid,” said Dr Mangwiro.
There had been growing fears that the suspension of the coupon facility would lead to the scrapping of the free blood imitative which was introduced by the ministry of health in 2018 where patients especially pregnant women and accident victims are being assisted free of charge. However, the lifting of the suspension is likely to return things to normal for the mean time and the free blood facility is likely to continue.
The NBSZ Public Affairs Manager, Ms Esther Massundah confirmed that government had indeed transferred ZW$43.5 Million into the NBSZ account and they received the funds this morning.
“Yes we can confirm that a payment was received from the ministry and the suspension on blood coupons has been lifted with effect from today. Meanwhile, whatever further modalities which are needed will be discussed between the ministry of health and the NBSZ.
“NBSZ will be in consultations and discussions with the ministry of health on a payment plan for the remaining balance,” said Ms Massundah.
The National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) says blood supplies has been greatly reduced during the Lockdown period at the back of shortages of critical imported consumables such as test kits and blood bags, owing to serious funding and procurement challenges.