The National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ), has set an ambitious target to collect 13,370 blood units during the upcoming festive season, at the back of innovative programs targeting existing and new blood donors.
By Michael Gwarisa
The festive season in Zimbabwe is largely associated with increased road accidents that result in high demand for blood and blood products. The Festive season also coincides with school closures and depressed blood collections since schools are the blood bank’s major blood collection sources.
According to NBSZ, should they meet their festive season target, the blood and products will be enough to sustain patients’ throughout the campaign period which ends in January 2024.
Speaking during the official launch of the 2023 Festive Season Campaign, NBSZ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Lucy Marowa said they were confident of attaining their target.
Looking at the year 2023, we are starting now this second week of November and our campaign is going to run up to the first week of January. We are targeting a collection of 13, 370 units throughout the country. Our strategy is that we are going to have 81 sessions that we are going to conduct throughout the country,” said Ms Marowa.
The NBSZ operates from five branches across the country namely Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru and Mutare.
“In order for us to be able to collect from these sites, we are targeting 28 sessions in Harare, we also we also want to target 10 sessions each in Gweru and Bulawayo 17, in Masvingo, and 16 in Mutare. This will give us the record 81 sessions where we hopefully should collect 13, 370 units. We estimate that this should be enough to take through the month of January,” she said.
She however said attaining the target was only possible if adults, school leavers and existing blood donors donated blood.
“As NBSZ, it is our responsibility to make sure that the nation has adequate stocks of blood during this festive season. The festive season also coincides with the closure of schools after the third term. When it comes to school leavers, we will have a targeted approach where we will call them to specific sites through our database and bring them all together, especially in the month of June which we have dubbed our youth donor months,” added Ms Marowa.
NBSZ annually partners with organisations including corporates and also individuals to boost blood collections outside the usual school-going children age group during the festive seasons.
“We therefore call upon the corporate community to support us in any way they can. They can support us through mobilising blood drives at their organisations if the numbers are sufficient. Cooperates can also support us through sponsoring blood drives, any form of support is welcome,” she said.
Meanwhile, the NBSZ is upbeat about attaining their 2023 Blood collection target at the back of an increase in blood collections over the past 12 months.
“We have had a marked improvement. Last year, total collections for the year were 59,300 units in total for the entire year. Already, by June this year, we had already hit 63,000 units which is already more than the total collections for last year. Indications are great that we may actually meet our target for the year which is 87,700 units,” said Ms Marowa.
Over the past two years, the blood bank’s collections have been hovering around 59,000 units per year. The blood bank has also come with innovative means to reach out to new blood donors. This includes opening up new blood collection panels in communities among others.