Lockdown creates blood collection dilemma

By Liz Dlodlo 

Authorities at the National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) have revealed that they are having challenges to collect blood from most of their traditional donors due to ongoing lockdown measures which have been effect in the country since the end of March.

The organisation says students and young adults are unreachable with others failing to travel under current obtaining conditions.

NBSZ’s Manager Responsible for Planning and Research, Dr Tonderai Mapako told Journalists Friday during a virtual workshop that the organisation was working on adapting to the new normal.

“We have had to adapt to the changes in the way of doing things so that we are able to collect the precious liquid,” he said.

“Our blood banks should have enough units to cover at least five days and though we have been able to maintain that. 

The major challenge we are experiencing is that our traditional donors are scattered and some have to observe the call to stay home as much as possible. This is done to minimize covid-19 infections”. 

He said the young people formed 70 percent of donors while adults supplied 30 percent of the national blood stocks.

Dr Mapako said they were engaging a number of faith based organisations and following up people in communities to boost stocks.

He said where they have been able to collect, they have done so under strict World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

“We have to collect safe blood and in some cases we had to engage the National Task Force on Covid19 to facilitate the movement of the blood donors to our collection points,” he added.

“As an alternative we are also clustering the blood donors and working on new recruitment methods to boost our supplies”.

Dr Mapako said those eligible to donate blood subject to thorough testing, were those falling in the age group 16 to 65 years.

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