The government has instructed the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) to reduce the cost of blood from $100 for public sector patients down to $80 with effect from the first of next month.

In a statement from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, there are reports that some desperate patients were now importing blood and blood products from neighbouring Zambia unprocedurally.

This is against the law as the safety of the imported blood cannot be guaranteed.

Blood requires special handling and it must be kept at prescribed temperatures hence imported blood poses a danger to the recipients and also a danger of introducing communicable diseases into the country.

Currently the price of blood is pegged at $100 for public sector patients and $120 for private sector patients prices which are clearly exorbitant and out of reach for most Zimbabweans.

In comparison to other countries in the region, the price of blood in Zimbabwe is very high.

In South Africa for example, a unit of blood costs R2000 while Malawi and Zambia the cost of a unit of blood is packed at around $85.

In June 2016, the government intervened and provided a financial subsidy to NBSZ from the National AIDS Council as well as other donor agencies which saw prices of blood reducing from $135 to $100 in the public sector and $161 to $120 in the private sector.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care said their vision is to have a situation where blood is provided cost-free to the consumer in the medium to long-term.