Govt must subsidise blood supply

The day is celebrated annually on June 14 to highlight the importance of blood donation and encourage more people to become donors.

LAST Friday, the world commemorated World Blood Donor Day, which ran under the theme 20 years of celebrating giving: Thank you blood donors!

The day is celebrated annually on June 14 to highlight the importance of blood donation and encourage more people to become donors.

The theme highlights two important issues.

First, it is an opportunity to express gratitude for those who voluntarily choose to donate blood.

Their selfless act of blood donation saves countless lives, continuing to be the backbone of a safe and secure blood supply.

Second, this year also marks 20 years of spreading awareness on donating blood.

This is also an opportunity to reflect on the progress made, acknowledge challenges and celebrate the dedication of blood donors, blood centres and organisations working tirelessly in this critical field.

It should be known that blood stocks are getting lower by the day as more people shun donating blood, while demand for this life-saving commodity is rising as the population increases.

One blood donor can save three lives.

Such a selfless act of donating blood can save the lives of many patients who are in dire need.

Blood donors are the unsung heroes of society and their invaluable contributions to saving lives deserve celebrating.

We encourage more people to volunteer to donate blood to help increase the availability of this essential resource in the country.

The Pan-American Health Organisation believes that voluntary, unpaid blood donation is the foundation of a safe and sufficient blood supply.

It also plays a crucial role in supporting patients with a wide range of chronic health problems, such as haemophilia and immune deficiencies.

We cannot agree any less.

Blood donation is a noble deed and millions of patients around the world benefit from such donations each month, getting treated for various medical conditions, like blood loss, anaemia and cancer.

People donate blood to blood banks or organisations that collect it for transfusion, ensuring a steady supply of healthy blood which is crucial for the healthcare industry.

We need to raise awareness about the importance of donating blood.

We thank all blood donors in Zimbabwe and across the world for donating blood and saving lives over the years.

It should be noted that we need to address continued challenges facing the blood supply sector and accelerate progress towards a future where safe blood transfusion is accessible.

After blood has been collected, it goes through a number of stages before it reaches the beneficiary, hence the accompanying costs.

A pint of blood costs around US$250, which is too steep for the ordinary man.

What drives the cost up is the processing, testing, storage and distribution of the collected blood.

We, therefore, urge the government to subsidise the blood supply chain.

In 2018, the Health and Child Care ministry launched the Free Blood Initiative meant to see pregnant women and vulnerable citizens getting blood for no charge at all public health institutions.

Also through the Health Levy that is deducted from voice phone calls, the Health ministry should receive funds from Treasury which it should disburse towards subsidising the Free Blood Initiative to other health services.

There are several sin taxes in Zimbabwe and we urge Treasury to timely disburse funds to the health sector if blood supply is to be constant.

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