Price of blood shoots up for private patients

BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

Private patients will now be paying
$2 160 for a unit of blood following an adjustment to the user fees using the interbank rate.

According to a leaked document from PSMI Laboratory West End Hospital, the prices of blood and its products were increased effective from December 1.

However, the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) said members of the public should not panic since it would still uphold its commitment to offer free blood to patients in public hospitals and would only charge private facilities at the interbank rate.

“The National Blood Service Zimbabwe wishes to advise the public that it made an adjustment to the user fees of blood using the interbank rate, which will see a unit of blood from NBSZ pegged at $2 160,” NBSZ spokesperson Esther Massundah said.

She explained that blood and blood products were still available free of charge to patients accessing treatment from non-private wards of public health institutions only as well as council hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo.

“User fees for blood and blood products will be charged for patients in all private health institutions and in private wards of public institutions, as well as for all those on medical aid cover,” Massundah said.

She added that hospitals were allowed to charge an administration fee of 5% on blood and blood products.

“While blood is donated for free, there is a value chain between its donation and transfusion to the patient, and this value chain costs US$120, an amount that the NBSZ is recovering from the user in order to continue operating as a going concern,” she said.

Massundah said as NBSZ, they were not selling blood for a profit and their financial statements were publicly available for scrutiny as testament to this.

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