THE National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) is targeting to collect an ambitious 97,500 units of blood for the year 2021 despite ongoing COVID-19 induced challenges.
By Michael Gwarisa
The target also comes in the face at a time the blood bank is recovering from a dry period whereby reserves from blood banks branches around the country had been struggling to maintain normal blood stocks of at least least five days due to travel restrictions that saw most donors failing to access blood clinics to donate blood in the first quarter of 2021. However, normal supplies have resumed at most blood banks even though Harare is still lagging behind.
In an interview with HealthTimes, NBSZ Communications Officer, Mr Ephraim Mubayi said they had devised new strategies of collecting blood in the face of emergencies such as the prevailing pandemic.
NBSZ has a blood donor recruitment strategy that looks beyond collecting blood from schools only thereby establishing alternative sustainable sources. We are pursuing COVID-19 compliant strategies. We have capacitated the Service with enough teams to collect the target collections.
“We are collecting blood from corporates, FBOs, community panels and the youth through the Pledge 25 Club Zimbabwe which is an initiative targeting the youth, and it contributes about 15% of blood in the national blood bank. These are all viable blood collection panels. The media is also key in our awareness campaigns,” said Mr Mubayi.
He however indicated that the COVID-19 affected blood collection targets for 2020 especially after the announcement of a nationwide lock-down in March 2020.
“Nationally a total of 57736 blood collections were made in 2020 (against a set target of 98,000 units), a 40% decrease from 96131 units collected in 2019.