National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has said blood and blood products are free of charge of patients who seek treatment in public health institutions, as part of the government’s service to its citizens.
In a press statement through the public affairs manager, Ms. Esther Massundah, NBSZ clarified on delivery of free blood and blood products to patients, saying the service is still available and that it is a privilege of patients who seek treatment in public hospitals.
The clarification statement follows after the circulation of false reports on social media on the user fees for blood, blood products, and costs consumables.
The company agreed that the prevailing health crisis in the country worsened by incapacitated medical professionals (striking doctors and nurses), was to blame for most patients’ decision to seek medical attention in private hospitals, where they paid for blood and blood products.
However, it denied accusations by social media reports of ever selling blood in public hospitals.
“There is no profit that is made from blood and the financial statements of NBSZ are publicly available for scrutiny as a testament to this,” NBSZ said.
Furthermore, NBSZ said patients who access treatment from private health institutions and private wards of public institutions as well as for all those on medical aid cover are the ones charged US$120 as user fees for blood and blood products.
National Blood Service Zimbabwe further corrected the public’s misconceptions by explaining why user fees for blood and blood products are charged for free in public health institutions.
It said, “The cost of producing a safe unit of blood is US$120, which is recovered at the prevailing bank rate. This production cost has been the same for the past five years and this is the very same fee that the government is paying to the NBSZ for every unit of product that is issued to a patient in the public institutions. It is not different from the fee that is levied to private hospitals because the blood products are of the exact same quality all round. Whilst blood is donated for free, there is a value chain between its donation and transfusion to the patient, and this value chain costs US$120, an amount that the NBSZ is recovering from the user in order to continue operating as a going concern.”
Meanwhile, NBSZ encouraged discontented individuals who would want to obtain accurate information and an understanding of its services and how the US$120 fee comes about to visit their website and other digital platforms.
The government introduced the free blood initiative in July 2018, as a result, it is responsible for paying every free donation made in public hospitals to NBSZ.
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