Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
PARLIAMENTARIANS have expressed concern over the high cost of blood in the country and called on the Government to fully fund and takeover the National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ).
Chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on health and child care Melania Mahiya told Parliament on Tuesday that the cost of blood, ranging from $120 to $140 per pint was far beyond the reach of many in the country.
MP Mahiya was presenting a report on the committee’s fact finding mission to Zambia in June this year on cancer management and blood services
She said the committee learnt a lot in the neighbouring country where blood costs $50 per pint.
“Before travelling to Zambia for the fact finding mission, our committee conducted an inquiry into the access of blood among Zimbabweans. The committee held an oral evidence meeting with NBSZ on May 20, 2014 and toured its facilities on June 22 the same year.
“The inquiry was meant to make us understand the institution’s operations and blood banking system in Zimbabwe.
“It revealed that access to blood and blood products in Zimbabwe was beyond what is practically manageable for an average citizen, with a pint of blood going for between $120 and $140 as at June 2016,” said MP Mahiya, who is the legislator for Gokwe-Gumunyu constituency.
She said the trip to Zambia made them realise that when Government takes charge of its citizens’ health, healthcare systems are strengthened while services become affordable and accessible to the generality of the population.
She commended the Zambian government for its commitment and dedication to cancer management and blood services and called on the Zimbabwean Government to emulate the neighbouring country.
“We recommend that the Government must fully fund and takeover NBSZ to enable easy access to blood. The Government should, as a matter of urgency, introduce free treatment for cancer patients as is the case with HIV/Aids patients.
“We also urge the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to allocate the Ministry of Health and Child Care not less than nine percent of the 2018 national budget. Reasonable budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Health are key to delivery of quality health services,” said MP Mahiya.