THE national lockdown imposed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March this year has heavily derailed the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) efforts to replenish the national blood bank as the body relies mostly on schoolchildren for donations.

BY BRENNA MATENDERE

Schools have been shut for the past five months whereas pupils form over 70% of blood donors.Addressing a virtual workshop for Midlands journalists yesterday, NBSZ spokesperson Esther Massundah bemoaned the development which comes at a time the festive season, which has a high demand for blood due to road accidents, is fast approaching.

“Schoolchildren form about 70% of our total blood donors. However, since the lockdown began and the subsequent closure of schools, it has meant that we cannot access the pupils to collect blood,” she said.

“On the other hand, our adult donors also find difficulties in travelling to our blood collection points because of the COVID-19 restrictions. So this is a challenge we are facing.”
Massundah, however, revealed that the NBSZ had since devised ways to tackle the challenge through going into communities.

“We are now making efforts to go into communities so that we meet with donors and collect blood. As we go there we also offer awareness messages to encourage more people to donate blood. We are hoping that this new strategy works,” she added.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary-general Foster Dongozi encouraged the media to play a pivotal role in demystifying issues around blood donation.

“A single error in reporting about blood can cause huge panic and anxiety to blood donors which can prove costly for the nation. So responsible reporting is the only way that we can use as the media to help grow the blood stocks so that more lives can be saved,”he said.

“We shall be entering into partnership with the NBSZ to hold media awards on blood reporting and that development should encourage our journalists to be proactive in shaping the national discourse on the important subject.”

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