Home » Health Services » SoS As Blood Bank Down to Just a Week’s Supply

THERE are concerns that scores of patients who require blood will be at risk with the National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) — the country’s sole blood supplier — reporting that it has only a week’s supply for the common blood group O.

NBSZ public affairs manager Esther Massundah said NBS is appealing to blood group O donors to visit their centres.

“As at December 15, we are currently sitting on a week’s supply of blood. The blood group with the highest demand from hospitals is blood group O,” said Massundah.

“NBSZ is appealing to blood group O donors who are due and lapsed donors to visit our centres to donate blood before they go on holiday,” she said.

Massundah also said NBSZ, in partnership with the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives Association and Netone, launched the 2014 Festive Season Campaign under the theme “Accidents and Emergencies do not take holidays. Donate blood.”

Last week it also emerged that major referral hospitals are already facing blood shortages.

Those under threat include maternal, radiotherapy and anaemia patients as well as accident victims.

The country needs an average of 75 000 blood units annually.

At any given time, blood banks should have collection kits to cover six months. However, owing to critical funding constraints, the NBSZ is reportedly unable to purchase new kits if available stocks run out.

This has seen it cut supplies to Government hospitals and demand cash up front. Government owes over US$1, 6 million. Private hospitals are, however, getting supplies under a 60-day credit facility.

“Government’s outstanding US$1, 6 million is seriously affecting our capacity to pay our suppliers for the kits,” she said.

Major hospitals may require up to 20 blood units in their maternity wings daily while cancer patients can take up to six units after radiotherapy, depending with the cancer type.

Hospitals require constant blood supplies to cater for serious accidents. The NBSZ sells blood to Government health institutions at about US$135 per unit while private medical centres and individuals pay about US$180.

Source : New Zimbabwe