Hospitals Suspend Non-Emergency Surgeries Due To Blood Shortages

THE blood stocks crises obtaining in the country’s health sector has pushed most major hospitals in Zimbabwe to defer non-emergency surgeries and prioritise urgent surgical cases.

By Michael Gwarisa

The development comes in the midst of acute blood shortages as a result of dwindling blood stocks at the blood bank which has been operating at below the required five days normal supply since the month of July. The lockdown measures have also greatly contributed to the declining stocks as blood donors could not travel to blood donation sites.

According to investigations by this publications, major Hospitals such as Parirenyatwa Hospital and Sally Mugabe Hospital in Harare, Mpilo in Bulawayo and others around the country have since shelved non-emergency surgeries.

In an Interview with HealthTimes, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Spokesperson, Mr Linos Dhire said they had resolved to channel blood and blood products towards emergency or life-threatening cases such as maternal emergencies and the casualty division until the blood stocks situation normalizes.

Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals has not stopped doing surgical operations although the hospital is currently experiencing some challenges with blood availability. Not all surgical operations require blood.

“However, the hospital is deferring non-emergency surgical cases which require blood until the blood availability situation improves. The hospital continues to work closely with the National Blood Service Zimbabwe and rationalize for the use of blood products according to national and WHO guidelines,” said Mr Dhire.

Non-emergency or elective surgeries are those that one can either plan in advance 
and do not require emergency attention for example inguinal hernia surgery, catara
ct, mastectomy for breast cancer, organ donations by a living donor among others.

Sally Mugabe Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Christopher Pasi said, “If the NBSZ says they have got shortages, it also applies to the institutions because that’s source. There is no way we can say they have blood and we say we don’t have or vice-versa. The issue about national blood stocks,” said Dr Pasi.

Efforts to a get a comment from Mpilo Central Hospital CEO, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya were fruitless as he said he could not comment since he was away from the Hospital until the end of this month.

In 2018, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) announced a free blood initiative where government subsidizes the program and in return, vulnerable citizens especially and pregnant women would access blood free in all public health institutions.

Meanwhile, commenting on the blood stocks status at the country’s blood bank, NBSZ Communications Officer, My Ephraim Mubayi said even though the there has been improvements in terms of donations and stocks, majority of the blood clinics were still operating below the requisite 5 day normal supply.

“Although the blood collection inflows have increased at both static and mobile sites in the last few days due to the ongoing campaign to boost the blood bank stocks, the stock levels are still not yet adequate (below 5 days for most branches),” said Mr Mubayi.



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