The Sunday News
Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) will for the first time in its history collect blood from Victoria Falls this Friday and Saturday. This comes after some locals advocated for the service to be brought to the resort town.
NBSZ was established in 1958 and had never conducted a public blood collection or donation exercise in Victoria Falls as the area was once in the red zone because of malaria incidents. NBSZ blood coordinator for southern region, Mr Sifundo Ngwenya said the Victoria Falls community had pressured to be given an opportunity to donate blood.
Mr Ngwenya said successive lockdowns had affected national blood stocks as NBSZ was no longer getting the 70 percent it used to get from schools countrywide. “We are ecstatic that finally we have come to Victoria Falls for an inaugural blood drive and this is a milestone achievement because we have never had an opportunity to get blood there. Victoria Falls was regarded as a red zone because of malaria and other issues but new findings have inspired a paradigm shift and we are breaking new barriers.
“The community has risen and shown interest. They have sponsored the drive and our appeal to the community of Victoria Falls is that they should come in numbers so that this becomes a reason to push for setting of structures in Victoria Falls,” he said.
Mr Ngwenya said NBSZ remains challenged in terms of blood stocks hence the need to continuously get more. The vaccination exercise also affected blood inflows as people who are vaccinated have to go through a window period before they can donate blood. People can donate blood at Shoestrings Backpackers where the NBSZ team has set its mobile station, according to organizer Ms Shannon O’Fee.
“The low blood bank levels in Zimbabwe and interest by many Victoria Falls residents to donate inspired us to want to help because people had nowhere to give blood. So I got in touch with NBSZ and organized some volunteers.
“I then created a group as they (NBSZ) needed between 80-100 people who would commit to donating and to date we have over 180 people who are interested,” said Ms O’Fee, who runs an organization called Mummy’s Angels.
She said she was grateful to various stakeholders and volunteers who have assisted in preparing for the exercise especially with food and accommodation for NBSZ teams and others. Ms O’Fee said plans are underway to make the exercise a quarterly event. [email protected]