The National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has received more than ZW$13 million for blood supplied to government and mission hospitals under the free-blood-initiative.

The NBSZ is optimistic the free blood policy will not be affected as the government has managed to pay part of the costs incurred by the organisation during the period January to June this year.

NBSZ Spokesperson Esther Masundah confirmed the development although she said more still needs to be done.

“To date, the government has paid ZW$13,685 million to cater for the free blood initiative. However, that amount in not enough for us because there is a lot that is required for the testing, and some of the consumables that are needed we import. As an organisation, we are not yet out of the woods but government has promised that it will pay what it owes. We have also not been spared from the power cuts which have also affected our operations,” said Masundah.

For years, the price of blood for transfusion was an emotive issue with a pint being sold for $135 before government’s intervention, which initially brought down the price to $50 a pint.

Since the introduction of the free blood policy in July last year the NBSZ has managed to maintain the optimum levels of five days’ supply in their blood banks.

The government has pledged to pay for blood and related products supplied under the free blood initiative and this year, the accumulative cost of blood distributed was at ZW$22 million before the latest part payment.

The free blood policy is now operational in all 46 public health facilities and 14 mission hospitals across the country.