Blood group ‘O’ in short supply

Source: Blood group ‘O’ in short supply | The Herald

Blood group ‘O’ in short supply

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

The country has enough stocks for blood groups A, B and AB although quantities for the critical blood group O remain dire since the National Blood Service of Zimbabwe has not been able to collect more units under the obtaining Covid-19 environment.

The country requires an average daily supply of 315 units of blood groups A, B, and AB to cover cases of trauma and emergencies countrywide.

National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) chief executive Ms Lucy Marowa said they were in the midst of collecting more blood at their static and mobile points countrywide.

She said during major holidays, they use an extra 10 percent of the daily requirement due to increase cases of trauma and road traffic accidents.

Ms Marowa said it was critical for Zimbabweans to ensure they stay safe during the festive season so that they don’t find themselves in unnecessary situations where they will need blood transfusion considering the current state of the blood bank.

“When we look at the number of units that we have in stock, we don’t consider absolute figures, but focus on how many days we are covered for by the supply that we are currently holding at any given time,” she said.

“So, for us to say we are ready for any emergencies, we say that at least five days stock is required in our blood banks.

At the moment, I can say that across the country we are hovering around three days cover or more especially for other blood groups which are not blood group O”.

The blood group O positive is critical in trauma care and those with O positive blood can only receive transfusions from O positive or O negative blood types.

In most cases, this blood type is one of the first to run out during a shortage due to its high demand.

At the moment the NBSZ is having only one day supply at any given time.

“As far as the holidays are concerned, we are not at the ideal level, we have around three days cover for other blood groups and only one day cover when it comes to blood group O.

“We still have to make sure that we push up the stocks for blood group O. On a normal working day, all things being equal countrywide, we need around 315 units comprising all the four blood groups; A, O, B and AB,” said Ms Marowa.

The official said they have ongoing programmes to boost supplies at the blood bank, but these were being negatively affected by the covid19 pandemic and the ongoing ordinary flu wave.

She said they had opened more static clinics countrywide where traditional and new donors can visit to boost supplies.

“We are using various media platforms to publicise the campaign. There are also a number of activities that are lined up including mobile blood drives being done in our five branches countrywide.

“We will continue mobilising and are hoping we will be able to attract our known blood group donors as new donors to come forward,” said Ms Marowa.

The NBSZ has five fixed sites in Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru, Mutare, and Masvingo where hospitals are accessing the blood and dedicated teams have been assembled to ensure flawless services throughout the holidays.

The organisation has also created a special supply point at Hwange Colliery Hospital to cater to communities in Hwange and Victoria Falls.