The National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has clarified its position to members of the public on the status of blood stocks following a media article published through the Sunday Mail titled, “Zim runs short of critical blood stocks” published today, Sunday 10 March 2019. 

In a statement, NBSZ spokesperson Esther Massundah said that the national blood bank currently has enough stocks for any procedures requiring blood transfusion at both government and private health institutions.

She said the blood service periodically monitors the blood bank and stocks are maintained at five day’s supply which is the optimum level to be maintained, adding that blood has a shelf life of 42 days and therefore, the NBSZ cannot overstock the blood bank as this will result in expiries.

With the coming in of the free blood initiative for all public health institutions, NBSZ adjusted its collections target upwards and has targeted to collect 108 405 units of blood in 2019.

Blood user fees are set in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Child Care. 

The blood service spokesperson said the NBSZ has never pegged user fees at $254 as mentioned in the article. 

Prior to blood being free, January 2017 to October 2017 fees were pegged at $100, November 2017 – December 2017 fees were reduced to $80, January 2018 – June 2018 fees were further reduced to $50, July, blood became free for all public health institutions while private health institutions fees were pegged at $120 per unit of blood.

The NBSZ therefore sincerely apologies to members of the public and health institutions for any panics that may have been caused by the misrepresentations in the article and will endeavour to educate the public and media on the blood bank system and its operations.