Covid-19: Reliance On Students For Blood Donations Affected Supplies – NBSZ

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By Staff Reporter

MUTARE: The National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) is putting in place measures to ensure it does not rely mainly on students as blood donors after it faced severe shortages during the seven-month Covid-19 lockdown.

The NBSZ chief executive Lucy Marowa said their over-reliance on school-going children who constitute 70% of the blood donors was a major setback for the organisation when the national lockdown was introduced in March.

The lockdown resulted in closure of most non-essential services including schools as the country grappled to contain the spread of Covid-19.

However, blood supplies were required by health institutions.

“We are putting measures to ensure that we try not to rely too much on school going donors. It was a lesson that we learnt during Covid-19 period that our over-reliance on 70 percent of school going donors is a model that needs to be changed and it has to change fast,” said Marowa.

She during the lockdown, the NBSZ was left with only senior blood donors as their source for the body fluid.

“The seven months left us stranded and, therefore, challenged us to encourage senior blood donors who also happen to be major consumers of the same product called blood. These are people we need to encourage to step up and fill in the gap and make sure we shift the balance probably 50-50 so that there is a backup plan.

“We want to ensure that when students are not around there is always a backup plan, adults can step in,” said Marowa.

NBSZ public affairs manager Esther Massundah said they were targeting to collect 1 750 units of blood in December as festive season is usually marred by road carnage thus high demand for blood.

“This period is marred by road carnage and there is high demand for blood and blood products by health institutions,” she said.