Hospitals experience blood Group O shortage
Saturday, 28 July 2012 21:08
MAJOR hospitals around the country are reportedly operating with limited stocks of blood Group O, as the National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) is facing challenges in meeting the huge demands of the blood type.
The situation has forced hospitals to prioritise critical cases only when blood Group O is needed.
NBSZ Public Relations Manager Ms Esther Masunda confirmed the challenges to Sunday News in an interview on Thursday last week
She, however, said the situation was not as critical as NBSZ has put in place adequate contingency plans to swiftly respond to reported critical situations.
Ms Masunda explained that the shortages were a result of high demands owing to the fact that 50 percent of the country’s population is blood Group O.
“It is important to note that 50 percent of this population is blood Group O and as such there is a high demand for this blood type and it is often that the blood group runs out,” she said.
“When we are running low on this blood type, we go to our donor database which has information on which donors are blood Group O and we call on those who are due to donate to come through to donate blood. Normally they respond positively.”
NBSZ has a donor base of blood Group O of 50 000.
Ms Masunda, however, said there is no alternative for blood Group O.
“There is no alternative to this blood type. However, when we have limited stocks available our standard procedure is that we give priority to the critical cases so that no life is lost. The hospital would advise the NBSZ on the critical cases so that action is taken accordingly,” said Ms Masunda.
The NBSZ public relations manager also revealed that the organisation is targeting to collect 80 000 units of all blood groups up from last year’s 78 000.
Last year the organisation failed to meet its set target by 2 000 units.
Ms Masunda also revealed that NBSZ had witnessed improved blood collections over the past three years.
She said she was confident that they would meet this year’s target as the organisation has put in place programmes that are meant to enhance blood collection.
“This year we are targeting to collect 80 000 units. Last year we collected 78 000 units. We were short of 2 000 to achieve our target.
We are, however, positive that this year we will collect more with the increased publicity and through our various programmes that will assist us in collecting more blood.
“Over the past years we have witnessed improved collections. Collections increased to 75 949 units in 2011 from 58 930 in 2010,” said Ms Masunda.