Contingency measures have been put in place to meet the expected upsurge in blood demand this festive season, the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) Masvingo branch has revealed.
In an interview, NBSZ Public Relations Officer Mr Michael Chakoma told Tell Zimbabwe that his organisation anticipated a rise in the demand of blood this coming festive season and has since embarked on preparatory measures to keep up with the demand.
“We are expecting to meet all blood requirements in our hospitals during this coming festive season through a number of blood drives that have been lined up for the 4th to 17th of December. We are looking forward to significantly raise levels of our blood banks through those campaigns,” said Mr Chakoma.
“We will begin in Hippo Valley at Section 27 Clinic on the 4th of December and end on the 17th of December at St Lukes in Chivi,” he said.
Other areas including Masvingo, Chiredzi and Jerera will also be catered for on the dates in between.
He said that periodical shortages of blood are usually experienced during schools holidays when school donors are away.
“School children form part of our most reliable donor base and the “Pledge 25 Club” is mainly targeted at them,” he said.
Pledge 25 Club is a community of school-going blood donors who pledge to make at least 25 donations before they reach the age of 30.
“It’s a strategy which has worked so well in Zimbabwe that it has since been adopted by up to 64 countries across the world. We are proud of that achievement,” added Chakoma.
Membership of Pledge 25 in Masvingo province, said Chakoma, currently stands at 704 of which 525 are active members.
“We encourage members to bring their friends along,” said Chakoma.
On the planned blood drives, Chakoma said members of the public will be welcome to donate blood at designated areas of the province.
He however expressed dismay at the low numbers of irregular blood donors, saying people need to appreciate the important role that blood donations play in saving lives.
“We are still having some challenges in as far as community involvement is concerned. Our target is to have at least fifty walk-in donors every month. Sometimes we exceed that figure but we also fail to reach it at times,” said Chakoma.
He encouraged members of the public to come on board and play their part by contributing to the country’s blood banks, saying the success of any initiative depends on public participation.
“We are appealing for donors out there to come and donate blood so that the country won’t have shortages and to ensure that we will be able to help all those who will need it in the course of the festive season. We expect an increase in the number of walk- in donors.” he added.
The sole blood and blood products supplier in the country, NBSZ is a non-profit registered organisation that operates under the Ministry of Health and Child Care.local