GWERU – The National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) which has heavily relied on schools for blood collections will shift to the adult population in communities as the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in closure of schools thereby affecting blood inflows.
Speaking during a virtual media education workshop organised by the NBSZ, the organisation’s Planning and Recruitment Officer for Midlands Agrrey Ngazana said blood collection and distribution had not been spared by Covid-19.
Ngazana said 70 percent of blood collections have traditionally been from schools and with schools closed, the organisation has changed attention.
“School children provide 70 percent, while the adult population provides 30 percent. We have not sat and relaxed as a service and since Covid-19 started, we have been going to where the blood is. We have been to Mkoba, Chivhu and Mbizo.
“Covid-19 has shown us that we have been operating dangerously and now since schools have closed we have a challenge. The reverse should be the norm and rely more on the adult population which is less likely to be affected by unforeseen emergencies and disasters,” he said.
Ngazana also said they had also liaised with the security sector to allow donors to move to donating venues during the Covid-19 period.
He further said there is great potential in the adult population as a number of donors heeded the call to donate blood.
NBSZ Midlands manager Lloyd Kawondera said apart from liasing with the security sector they were also working with the provincial medical director and the Gweru Provincial Hospital medical superintendent to ensure the program’s success.
“We developed exemption letters for our donors and also gave them shuttles when there were challenges,” he said.
The NBSZ, Kawondera said supplies blood to 14 hospitals around the province.
Government covers the cost of blood for all patients at public hospitals, while those in private hospitals buy at USD120 per unit.