Copperbelt in blood SOS

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 10:06:08 +0000

 COPPERBELT Province has a deficit of 10,000 units of blood, says Zambia National Blood Transfusion Service (ZNBT) regional director Masiku Phiri.

Dr. Phiri said units currently in the ZNBT blood bank were slightly above 20,000 representing a shortfall of about 10,000 units.

Speaking during the unveiling of partnership between ZNBT and Dangote Cement Zambia limited, Dr. Phiri said that the shortage has gone up as the institution required to meet the target of 30,000 to satisfy the demand.

He said ZNBT was working on securing 2.8 million donors to raise the required units.

“To meet the demand for the province, it has been estimated that ZNBT should stock at least 30,000 blood units. This has proved to be a big challenge as we have been burdened with  the demand for blood from our 30 health institutions.

“As you are aware, Zambia has been recording an increase in road traffic accidents and lots of blood is required for victims; we also have pregnant women and children under the age of five who need blood at some stage,” he said.

ZNTB has devised donor strategy innovation to increase bases for blood donors and increase sensitisation to close up the deficit.

Dr. Phiri said the coming on board of Dangote employees through their corporate social responsibility by donating blood was a welcome development.

He said that the institution had over the years entered in similar partnerships with companies in the province to capture its employees and the exercise enabled ZNBT to meet what it required.

He said that out of the 1, 200 employees at Dangote, the institution targeted to capture ten percent and collect 150 units.

Dr. Phiri said Government had invested in state-of-the-art equipment which has made the institution to do mandatory tests of the units collected for all diseases in its laboratory.

He indicated that the institution was facing resistance from people to donate units of blood due to myths and fears. He, however, said that ZNBT was tackling the challenges through education that donation of blood was lifesaving and not life taking.

Meanwhile, Dangote Chief executive officer Desmond Maharaj said his company took up the challenge being alive to the deficit that the province was facing.

Mr. Maharaj said blood was a critical component to save lives especially patients undergoing surgery, and most especially accident victims and mothers who might have complications during child birth.

He has since called on other companies on the Copperbelt to emulate Dangote and save lives.


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