Subsidising cost of blood not feasible, says NBSZ

Source: Subsidising cost of blood not feasible, says NBSZ | The Herald June 20, 2016

Bianca Leboho Herald Reporter
It is unsustainable for Government to subsidise the cost of blood in view of the economic challenges the country faces, National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has said.

Speaking at an event to commemorate World Blood Donor Day last Tuesday, NBSZ head of planning and recruitment Mr Tichaona Saire said it was not ideal for Government to subsidise the cost of blood because of the economic climate.

Mr Saire was speaking in response to a call made by parliamentarians last week for Government to subsidise the cost of blood and ensure that everyone in need of blood transfusion accesses it at an affordable price.

“NBSZ falls under Government, and it is a fact that other countries in Africa have subsidised the cost of blood, but the move is not ideal for our country because of the current economic challenges we are facing,” said Mr Saire.

He added that NBSZ had costs that needed to be met, hence it operated on a cost recovery basis.

“We carry out blood screening tests and we also have human labour among other costs as NBSZ. We thus need to recover all those costs, hence we cannot operate on a cost-free basis.”

Mr Saire, however, said the country had adequate stocks of blood in its banks allaying fears of a shortage of blood type O, which was reported earlier this year.

“We always need to have a seven-day supply of blood, and I can safely say at this point we have adequate amounts of blood in our banks,” said Mr Saire.

Mr Saire urged Zimbabweans to come through to NBSZ centres in their numbers and donate blood.

“Fifty percent of the local population belong to the blood group O and 52 percent of patients in our medical institutions who have been recorded need blood type O.

“We thus urge people to come through to our centres and identify their blood groups at no cost,” said Mr Saire.

He said with the prevalence of accidents in the country of late, it is important for Zimbabweans to continuously come through and donate blood.

“The unfortunate road accident which occurred during the weekend saw a lot of injured people who urgently needed blood transfusions and we can safely say blood was available for those patients,” said Mr Saire.