In a significant move to fortify blood safety measures in Zambia, the World Bank has allocated $3.5 million to the Zambia National Blood Transfusion Services (ZNBTS). Ackim Fock, the World Bank Country Manager, made the announcement, emphasizing the strategic allocation of funds to support the rehabilitation of provincial blood centers, establishment of blood hubs, and provision of resources for blood mobilization, collection, and distribution.
Speaking on behalf of Dr. Ackim Fock, the Senior Operations Officer, John Makumba, highlighted that the allocated funds will be distributed over the next 18 months to assist ZNBTS in its mission to ensure the safety of the blood supply in Zambia.
The funding will be specifically directed towards the rehabilitation of 10 provincial blood centers, the creation of 20 fully equipped blood hubs with refrigerators, and the provision of vehicles dedicated to mobilizing, collecting, and distributing blood throughout the country.
Health Minister Sylvia Masebo presided over the handover ceremony of six utility motor vehicles, marking a significant step toward advancing the universal health coverage agenda and ensuring timely access to safe blood for all patients in need.
During her address, Minister Masebo outlined key points related to the government’s commitment and objectives. These include the confidence that the vehicles will be utilized as intended, benefiting citizens, particularly children and mothers. Ongoing efforts to refine policies related to blood transfusion, improve infrastructure and equipment, and save more lives were also emphasized.
The minister expressed dedication to implementing policies aimed at enhancing the mobilization, utilization, and accountability of health financial resources. Recognizing the need to invest in critical blood transfusion equipment, safety commodities, consumables, and outreach vehicles, Minister Masebo underscored that blood services should not incur any charges to patients.
The crucial role played by blood donors was acknowledged, and the minister encouraged them to continue sharing positive experiences and promoting a culture of blood donation. Gratitude was expressed for the World Bank’s support under the Zambia COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.
The six donated motor vehicles were handed over to the Western, Southern, North Western, Eastern, Central, and Muchinga Provincial Blood Centers. The remaining four provinces are expected to receive four more similar vehicles in the coming months, solidifying the government’s commitment to enhancing blood safety and healthcare infrastructure across Zambia.