High user fees for blood units hit Zim

Acting Permanent Secretary of Health and Child Care Dr Gibson Mhlanga has challenged government and private sector to contribute towards the running of the Blood services so that the cost of blood can be revised.

Speaking at the World Blood Donor Day in Harare on Friday, Mhlanga said the user fees of blood are high and out of reach for the majority of Zimbabweans.

Mhlanga added, between 2009- 2012 National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) was able to charge a reduced fee of $80-00 to the health institutions because of the grants from the government and its resource partners that came in consistently.

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“Since 2013, these grants have not been sufficient and this has resulted NBSZ in reverting back to full cost recovery of $ 135. 00 per unit of blood for all health institutions.

“For NSBZ to maintain the quality and safety of the blood, it has to ensure that it has an effective quality management system in place that meets the required standard.

“Better equipment to carry out these processes needs to be bought and maintained”, said Mhlanga.

Mhlanga highlighted that all this costs a lot of money and efforts are in progress to address the issue of funding as well as to continuously improve efficiency of processes, thereby gradually bringing down the blood user fees.

He added  that, National AIDS Council, which provides partial to full funding for test kits since 2010, and the PEPFAR programme which came to an end in September 2015, after 5 years came in big way to assist with funding the NSBZ operations, recapitalization and other critical items.

The acting permanent secretary said UNICEF through the Health Transition Fund( HTF) that has assisted pregnant women who were dying needlessly because of failure to afford blood.

Meanwhile, NBSZ has set aside the month of June as Blood Donor Month.