The Ministry of Health and Child Care has scrapped blood user fees amid indications that the country’s blood bank has enough stock.
Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary, Dr Gerald Gwinji confirmed the initiative saying blood is a critical commodity which should be easily accessible to the public.
“Blood is a precious commodity particularly for those who need it and those that have been involved in road traffic accidents and mothers who are delivering lose lots of blood. It is therefore necessary and critical that this commodity can accessed as freely and as quickly as possible when one needs it,
“What we had over the years was that patients had to buy blood from NBSZ or other institutions. This resulted in some patients failing to access it and therefore suffering adverse effects from their health event,
“What we have decided as government is to make blood freely available at all public health institutions, this includes women who are pregnant, who have complications with delivery, children and anyone who needs blood,” Gwinji.
He added that as government they have since the beginning of the year invested slightly under USD$7 million to make the initiative possible.
NBSZ Public Affairs manager, Esther Massundah said all is set for the free blood initiative which commenced on the 1st of July 2018 across all public hospitals while for private hospitals, the user fees remain at $120.
“NBSZ is prepared for the free blood initiative and since the announcement through the MoHCC, NBSZ has been working hard to ensure that the blood bank is well stocked,
“Awareness campaigns on the free blood initiative were carried out through our World Blood Donor campaign to sensitize the public on the need to donate blood. We have also put additional mobile teams for our two big branches Harare and Bulawayo which cover a wider geographical area and we also intensified donor calling,” said Massundah.
NBSZ also hopes that the new blood clinic in the Bulawayo CBD would improve blood stocks on the southern side of the country due to its accessibility to the general public.