Zimbabwe honors record breaking milestone blood donors

250 Units Buss Julian Ronald 250 Units Buss Julian Ronald

Harare, 14 June 2017 : 152 milestone voluntary  blood donors were honored during the commemoration of World Blood Donor Day at a colorful function in Harare. Among these were 2 outstanding donors who have each donated a lifetime record of 250 units. This translates to 6 units per year over a period of 41 years if they started at 16, the age at which people can donate blood in Zimbabwe.

The 2, Ronald, Julian Buss, and Donald Ernest Hatchett were honored for their dedication to save lives through donating blood. Zimbabwe is one of the countries in Africa and the world whose national blood supplies are based on 100% voluntary unpaid blood donations. This was acknowledged by Dr Jean Emmanuel, the National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) Medical Director, in his statement.  “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both the NBSZ for achieving 100% voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, and for being a center of excellence and a role model in Africa; and the milestone blood donors for dedicating their lives to saving people’s lives through voluntary blood donation,” said Dr Emmanuel. WHO recommends the collection of blood, plasma and other blood components from low-risk, regular, voluntary unpaid donors through the strengthening of donation systems; the phasing out of family/replacement donation; the elimination of paid donation; and effective donor management, including care and counseling.

The theme for this year’s commemoration; “What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often” is focused on blood donation in emergencies, specifically for those who want to help. It calls on everybody to play a role in emergency situations by giving blood. Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency healthcare; and this year’s theme raises awareness for voluntary, regular blood donations to maintain sufficient stocks of blood and blood products in blood transfusion services.  The theme is significant for the African Region which is most affected by crises and outbreaks, such as disease epidemics, road traffic accidents,  armed conflicts, and other disasters. Such emergencies increase the demand for blood transfusion and many victims of these crises die because of lack of blood and blood products, or risk infection when transfused with unsafe blood. It is particularly significant for Zimbabwe which is reeling from a major road traffic  accident which claimed 43 lives in early June.

WHO Representative, Dr David Okello read the statement of the Regional Director for Africa, Dr Moeti.  In the statement, Dr Moeti urges countries and all the stakeholders involved in blood donations to support and strengthen advocacy for voluntary, unpaid blood donations to maintain adequate supplies of safe blood. This, she said,  will allow national blood transfusion services to respond in time to the increase in blood demand, especially during emergencies. She acknowledged all voluntary blood donors for the great work they are doing. “I thank all voluntary blood donors and encourage them to continue giving this valuable gift regularly to ensure sufficient blood stock before emergencies arise,” read part of the statement. She reiterated The WHO Regional Office for Africa’s continued  support of all appropriate initiatives aimed at ensuring that safe, life-saving blood and blood products are available for all, particularly those in emergency situations.

In a statement, read on his behalf by the Chairman of the Health Services Board, Dr Lovemore Mbebgeranwa, the Honorable Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa acknowledged all the voluntary unpaid blood donors whose blood saves the lives of many and appealed to more people to join the pool of voluntary non-remunerated donors to ensure there is sufficient blood to save lives especially in emergencies. He said Zimbabwe has a pool of close to 40 000 voluntary unpaid donors but he urged more people to join this pool to avoid loss of lives during emergencies. In his statement, Dr Parirenyatwa acknowledged the proposed Road Accident Fund which has been  tabled before Parliament saying if approved, the fund will go a long way to assist road traffic accident victims to access treatment and safe blood. He also assured those present of his Ministry’s continued support to NBSZ, and implored other players to partner with his Ministry to improve the funding of NBSZ.

______________________________________________________

Below :

01. 250 Units Buss Julian Ronald

02. 250 Ernest Hatchett

03. Dr Mbengeranwa

04. Dr Okello speech

Zimbabwe