THE Zimbabwe blood bank is running dry due to a shortage of consumables that are used to collect blood from donors. Instead of the normal five-day stock, the National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) used to have, it is currently operating on a three-day supply.
BY Phyllis Mbanje
The shortage of the consumables, which include blood bags and test kits, according to NBSZ spokesperson Esther Massundah was a result of depressed supplies during the lockdown period.
“Our supply of blood and blood products to health institutions is currently constrained,” Massundah said. Massundah, who was speaking during a virtual meeting, said funding and procurement challenges had hampered importation of the consumables.
“We are expecting arrival of part of these critical supplies by Friday, June 5 which will lead us to work all weekend in order for normal services to resume by Monday,” she said.
The NBSZ laboratories will remain operational throughout the weekend to clear any testing backlog and ensure that there is some normalcy on the supply of blood to the hospitals.
“These above said challenges have resulted in NBSZ reducing its planned blood collection schedules and calling of blood donors to our static clinics.”
Meanwhile, NBSZ has a raft of activities lined up for the traditional blood donor month which is held annually in June. The activities are a run-up to World Blood Donor Day on June 14.
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This year’s theme is Safe Blood Saves Lives” with the slogan Give Blood And Make the World a Healthier Place”.
According to the World Health Organisation, the idea is to focus on the contribution an individual giver can make to improve health for others in the community.
Blood donations are needed all over the world to ensure individuals and communities have access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products in both normal and emergency situations.
Through the campaign, people from all over the world are called upon to be life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly.
“We are mobilising for World Blood Donor Day in terms of resources and funding opportunities for capitalisation,” Massundah said.