Mpilo Hospital runs out of blood

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THE lives of patients requiring blood transfusion at Mpilo Central Hospital has been placed at great risk as the institution has no money to replenish its blood stocks that have dried up.

NDUDUZO TSHUMA
STAFF REPORTER

Mpilo Hospital clinical director Wedu Ndebele told Southern Eye on Monday that the shortage of blood was not unique to the institution, but affected all government health institutions.

Ndebele said the problem was caused by a decision by the National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) to suspend the account system of buying blood and demanding cash up front.

“The problem is not unique to Mpilo, but all hospitals have been affected by the move to pay for the blood upfront.

“They are not allowing anyone to get blood and pay later. It also means that the patients have to pay for the blood upfront,” he said.

“The blood bank has not been paid for blood supplies by the hospitals. Hospitals do not have money as they have not been paid by government.”

Ndebele could not be drawn into revealing the average blood requirement and how much it costs.

He, however, said the hospital’s maternity ward was not affected.

“In the maternity ward there are no problems because we have a coupon system and the required blood stocks are available.

“The problem is that we do not have money to pay the blood bank; not that there is any blood shortage (in the country).”

Ndebele said the hospital had made some partial payments and was expecting blood stocks to be delivered soon.

NBSZ public affairs manager Esther Massundah referred all inquiries to the Health and Child Welfare ministry.

Acting Health and Child Care minister Douglas Mombeshora was not reachable for comment as both his mobile phones were unreachable.

The majority of government owned hospitals are mired in debt and have suffered from underfunding for some time.