By Staff Reporter
THE National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) is brainstorming on how to improve its blood collection strategies and always have a well-stocked national body fluid bank in the wake of the devastating Covid-19 virus.
NBSZ Midlands provincial spokesperson Aggrey Nkazana told journalists during a virtual briefing this week that there was need to rethink new opportunities for collecting blood in communities.
He said the long-held tradition of relying on school children as donors was proving costly during the current national lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 as schools remained closed and the kids were not easily reachable due to travel restrictions.
“We have been operating dangerously. Our main focus has been the youths in schools, and now that schools are closed, we are in a bit of a fix as we are having challenges to replenish the blood bank,” he said.
School children, according to NBSZ statistics, contribute close to 70% of blood to the blood bank critical for supplies at all health institutions.
“The lockdown has taught us that we need to move away from relying on school children and move to adults. Adults are more reliable and stable. There is need to reconsider the blood collection strategies as about 70% of the blood comes from school children,” he said.
Meanwhile, NBSZ spokesperson Esther Masundah also confirmed the closure of schools had impacted negatively on the organisation’s blood collection.
“School children form about 70% of our total blood donors. However, since the lockdown began and subsequent closure of schools, it has meant that we cannot access the pupils to collect blood,” she said.
“On the other hand, our adult donors also face difficulties in travelling to our blood collection points because of Covid-19 restrictions. So, this is the challenge we are facing.”