NBSZ in drive to boost blood stocks

The National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has intensified efforts to increase the country’s blood stocks, with a target to collect over 13 000 units of blood to cater for the upcoming festive season demand.

Yesterday, the NBSZ launched its festive season blood collection campaign, which will run until the first week of January next year, and is expected to ensure the country does not run out of blood.

Speaking during the launch, NBSZ chief executive Ms Lucy Marowa said there was a higher demand for blood during the festive season owing the increased number of road accidents.

“We are starting this second week of November and our campaign will run up to the first week of January,” she said. 

“We are targeting a collection of 13 370 units throughout the country. 

“We estimate that this should be enough to take us through the month of January. However, it is only possible when both adults and school leavers alike come together and donate blood.” 

NBSZ operates from five branches in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru and Mutare.

Schoolchildren make up the majority of the country’s blood donors, with adults accounting for about 10 percent of blood collections.

But the festive season coincides with the closure of the third school term and decreased supply owing to the public examinations held this term.

“When our collections are low during the term, if we do not take the right steps to prepare for the festive season, it means that we will go in without adequate stocks and this coupled with the heightened need for blood, is a recipe for disaster,” said Ms Marowa. 

“This is why every year we take it upon ourselves to partner with organisations, individuals who are prepared to help the nation through campaigning for more blood donors from the school leavers and adult communities for us to boost the stocks, so that we have enough blood to tide us over until schools reopen in January.” 

Ms Marowa called upon the corporate community to partner the NBSZ to increase blood donations from the adult population.

NBSZ is mandated to supply public health institutions with blood products which are then provided for free to any patient in need.

“We have to make sure the product is available to make sure that at any time, the blood stocks are available as and when required,” said Ms Marowa. 

“In the previous years we were affected by Covid-19 and we have not been able to get enough stocks as required but I am happy to announce that we have recorded marked improvement this year and we have seen blood collection improving drastically from the past three years and we would like to see the same happening over the festive season.” 

Last year, blood collections for the year stood at 59 300 units. By June this year, collections had reached 63 000 units indicating that the target for 87 700 units is achievable.

With the plan to engage youths, NBSZ has Ms Patience Madzima, a member of the Pledge 25, encouraging youths to participate in the blood donation drive as well as other campaigns that run throughout the year.

“I want to encourage the young people in Zimbabwe to make sure that in this festive season, come through and donate blood because 15 percent of our donations come from the Pledge 25 club,” she said. 

“Our goal is to make sure we capture those who have left school so that they become continuous blood donors.” 

Mr Tinotenda Mapurisa, a blood donor, said donating blood saves lives. 

“I started donating in 2016 when I was still in school but I was only doing it because others were doing it. When I went to a medical school, that is when I realised the importance of donating blood,” he said. 

“There are many accidents that happen where people need blood but the blood supply is lower than demand so being one of those people providing service to those in need, I now understand why I need to continue donating.” 

Another donor, Mrs Trish Henson (63), who was donating for the 96th time yesterday, said blood donations had saved her husband’s life.

“I have been a donor ever since I was a teenager but in 2021 during Covid, my husband had a building accident and he lost his lower leg. As a donor, you are able to get free blood if you or your family member needs it,” she said. 

“My husband suffered severe blood loss and at that time there was short supply but he was able to get it. I encourage people to donate, it is easy and it’s a good thing to do. My husband’s life was saved because someone had donated blood.”


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