The World Blood Donor Day campaign concluded with a Scientific Evening chaired by NBSZ laboratory Services Manager Mr. George Mavunganidze and Principal Medical Laboratory Scientist, Mr. Sisodwa Z. Nkomo, under the theme: “Blood Supplies in emergencies.” There were four presentations and the first presentation was given by the NBSZ CEO Ms. Lucy Marowa who spoke on the NBSZ Preparedness for Blood Supplies in Emergencies. Key in her presentations was the assurance of the Service’s readiness to tackle any disasters that might occur. “NBSZ has systems in place to respond to emergencies adequately” She said.

Other presentations for the Scientific evening were from Mr. Peter Banda, PSMI Laboratory General Manager who spoke on the “Use of Blood and Blood products in a Private Hospital setting.” He emphasised on the importance of the transfusion committees for rational use of blood and blood products to help ease operations in hospitals.
Professor Steven P. Munjanja, Obstetrics and Gynaecologist (Senior Medical Consultant) at Harare Central Hospital, in his presentation, on “Blood Supplies in Emergencies: Obstetric complication” emphasised that the timely availability of blood for obstetric use makes a significant difference between life and death in many instances. However, there in notable underfunding of blood for this cause, therefore he implored whoever can support this cause to do so from both the government and other private funders. Professor Munjanja also reiterated on the importance of transfusion committees as a WHO standard recommendation which the hospital is going to implement with immediate effect.

Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ), Regional Manager for Mashonaland, Mr. Ernest Muchena in his presentation spoke on the importance of preparedness for the post traffic crash period. Mr. Muchena placed emphasis on the importance of having adequate blood stocks so as to avert any loss of life after road crashes, hence the strong partnership between NBSZ and TSCZ. However, he reiterated that it is better to prevent traffic crashes to avoid the emergency need for blood transfusion than to plan for actual emergencies caused by road crashes, 90% of which could have been avoided as they would have resulted from human error.

Dr. Hove, Director Pathology Services, Ministry of Health and Child Care, in his remarks acknowledged the great need for adequate health care funding especially for blood and blood products so that every citizen requiring a transfusion easily accesses it. Dr. Hove, emphasised the need for more operational research which is a boost to NBSZ research efforts in the country.
“We need more operational research which includes Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT), Intra-Operative Salvage, disaster and risk management and other critical blood transfusion related researches, so let us be as scientific as we can” He said.

Every year on 14 June, Zimbabwe joins the global community to commemorate World Blood Donor Day. This year’s campaign focused on blood donation in emergencies. In any crisis or emergency situation, the natural human response is “What can I do? How can I help?” therefore, the slogan for the 2017 campaign was: “What can you do?” with the secondary message “Give blood. Give now. Give often”

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