blood donation.jpgZimbabwe is set to become the second country in the region, after South Africa, to introduce a new method of screening blood for transfusion.

The new method called Nuclea Acid Test is said to be highly sensitive and produces more accurate results than the conventional test system that is currently in use.

National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) Assistant Laboratory Manager, Mr George Maunganidze said while the NBSZ has not recorded any cases of people that have been infected through blood transfusion, the new method will further strengthen blood safety and almost eliminates the risk of getting infections from donated blood.

“It detects the virus at its earliest stage so it reduces the window period risk,” said Mr Maunganidze.

NBSZ Public Affairs Manager, Ms Esther Masundah said some laboratory technicians are now doing formal studies on the risks involved and the cost effectiveness of introducing the Nuclea Acid Test.

“Using funds availed under the European Union T-RECH research grant, we have introduced a programme called Building Research Capacity of Blood Transfusion Services in Africa, where laboratory technicians are studying the effectiveness of this new blood testing method. The only country to have implemented this project is South Africa, and we are now taking some key learning points from that country, seeing where they were successful and where they got it wrong,” Ms Masundah said.

NBSZ requires at least US$1,8 million to implement the project.

The human body is the only manufacturer of blood, and before a donation, a volunteer undergoes a health check which includes an estimation of one’s haemoglobin.

Blood is also screened for other diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and syphilis.