Zimbabwe: National Blood Donor Stops Distribution to Hospitals As Test Kits Run Out

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Phillip Valerio Sibanda inspect a parade during Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day celebrations (file photo).

The National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has temporarily suspended the distribution of blood to the country's hospitals citing low blood bank levels owing to the unavailability of essential kits for testing and storage.

In a statement, NBSZ spokesperson Esther Massundah said the national blood donor is facing serious funding and procurement challenges in importing consumables such as test kits and blood bags due to travel restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"NSBZ advises the public, blood donors, business associates and all health institutions that our supply of blood and blood products to health institutions in Zimbabwe is currently constrained due to the shortages of critical imported consumables," she said.

"The procurement of these critical items has been delayed by international travel restrictions which has led to a scarcity of cargo flights."

The NBSZ added it had reduced its liquid body substance collection schedules and called for blood donors to visit its various static clinics dotted around the country to make regular donations.

"We are expecting the arrival of part of these critical supplies by Friday which will lead us to work all weekend in order for normal services to resume on Monday.

"Our laboratories will remain operational throughout the weekend to clear any testing backlogs and ensure that there is some normalcy on the supply of blood to hospitals," Massundah said.

She further said the NBSZ was engaging relevant authorities to resolve funding and logistics challenges to come up with a lasting solution to the blood crisis.

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