THE National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) needs approximately 13 525 pints of blood in the Matabeleland region to help them ensure an adequate blood supply throughout the upcoming festive season.
The NBSZ urged Zimbabweans to celebrate the holiday season by donating to the sole blood products supplier to all the country’s hospitals to enable them to meet the demand for their three principal blood products that are red blood cells, platelets and plasma.
NBSZ regional public relations officer for Matabeleland region Sifundo Ngwenya told Southern Eye on Thursday that the agency would soon launch pre and pro-donation campaigns across the region to encourage more people to donate ahead of the festive season because blood reserves are very low.
There are more car crashes during the festive season and that puts more stress on the system.
He said they were targeting schoolchildren that are 15 years and above who have pledged to donate blood and also intend recruiting more youthful donors.
He also encouraged members of the public to roll up their sleeves and donate blood in numbers to help save lives.
“We urge members of the public to drive safely to avoid road carnages, especially as we approach this festive season,” Ngwenya said.
“Blood collection is everyone’s responsibility. People should shun reckless behaviour, for example, engaging in prostitution or anything that can contaminate their blood.
“We do not want a situation whereby everyone’s blood is contaminated. If that would be the case, where can we get blood to save lives?” Ngwenya said.
Festive seasons in Zimbabwe have been characterised by high road carnages with many people losing their lives. There were 658 accidents recorded during last year’s festive season.
Ngwenya also revealed that the blood agency was facing financial problems, which severely crippled their operations.
NBSZ chief executive officer David Mvere revealed last week that the agency funded most of its operations with limited funding from external and local donors.
Mvere said external donors were not consistent in their funding and that had left NBSZ faced with numerous problems. The NBSZ also has a depleted fleet of vehicles and this limited the agency’s mobility in collecting blood.