The Zambia National Blood Transfusion Services (ZNBTS) has expressed optimism that North-western province will be self-sustainable in terms of blood banks.
ZNBTS Northern Regional Director Masiku Phiri said he was hopeful that the province will reach zero stock out.
Dr. Phiri was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Northwestern Province deputy Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Chihili in Solwezi today.
“We know that the province needs at least 30,000 units of blood to be self-sustainable annually and therefore, a plan will have to be put in place to ensure that we are able to collect such amount of blood,” he said.
Dr. Phiri said the ZNBTS is in the province to scale up blood collection activities and strengthen capacity.
He added that ZNBTS also wants to roll out blood transfusion National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) programme for local sustainability as part of health care financing.
“The major beneficiaries of blood are women before, during and after labour, children under the age of five with malaria, sickle cell patients and bone infestation,” Dr. Phiri explained.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chihili said he was happy that the challenge of blood shortages was being addressed in the province.
He said the population increase in the province has affected everything including service provision in the health sector.
“As you might be aware, North-western has seen a surge in the recent past of so many people coming here from other places, so that has also equally affected just almost everything in terms of the services that we provide to the people,” Mr. Chihili said.
He said such interventions are of paramount importance especially coming from the year where people were scared to donate blood due to the gassing activities.
“We have continued engaging various stakeholders, so that we try as much as possible to sensitise our people because, imagine, the donor wants to give blood but you take them away on other suspicions that are not even real, then you end up losing a life,” Mr. Chihili said.
Meanwhile North-western Province Health Director, Charles Msiska said there are teams in Ikeleng’i and Mwinilunga districts that will target to collect 900 units of blood.