Source: Zambia Daily News/Google

The Zambia Blood Transfusion Service (ZNBTS) has recorded an increase in the amount of blood collected from donors from 40,000 units in 2004 to 104,000 units in 2009.

The development has been attributed to increased funding to the ZNBTS by government and the United States President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka on the occasion of the World Blood Donor Day and the Zambia Blood Donor Day organising committee chairperson Eddy Mupeso said government’s funding to ZNBTS has increased from six percent in 2011 to 50 percent in 2012.

Mr Mupeso said funding from government is expected to increase to 60 percent by next year.

“The Zambia National Transfusion Service is a government institution mandated to collect blood throughout the country and distribute the finished product to hospitals which need it. We must emphasise that this is the only institution mandated to do so,” he said.

He said schools have been the major source of blood and encouraged pupils at various learning institutions to continue donating blood.

The commemoration of the World Blood Donor Day has been set by the World Health Organisation, to universally acknowledge people who donate blood, which saves lives.

“The commemoration is intended to create awareness on the importance of donating blood, who should donate blood and the management of blood from collection to transfusion,” he said.

The commemoration of the day in Zambia will be preceded by a week of intensified activity, aimed at collecting more blood from all provincial centres.

He said all the donated blood is carefully tested for transmissible diseases like HIV, hepatitis and syphilis.
Mr Mupeso said the main beneficiaries of blood are children and mothers, who account for 40 percent of all blood utilisation, while the rest is required for cancer, malaria and HIV/AIDS patients and road traffic accident victims.

“Zambia needs about 130,000 to 150,000 units of safe blood per year. It is projected to collect about 130,000 units in 2012, based on one percent of the Zambian population,” he said.

And ZNBTS executive director Gabriel Muyinda said blood donation must be done purely on voluntary basis and that donors are not compelled to disclose their medical history.
Dr Muyinda also said no blood should either be bought or sold and that the donor must be between 16 and 65 years old.