Free blood commendable but…


COMMUNITY Working Group on Health executive director, Itai Rusike has commended Government’s move to provide blood and blood products for free in public hospitals.
Rusike said that most people have been failing to access blood due to its high cost which, in turn, has contributed to avoidable deaths.
“We applaud the Government for making blood and blood products free in public institutions, a move that will definitely lessen the financial strain on patients and preventing avoidable deaths that have been occurring in the country.
“So the high cost of blood has been one of the major barriers that prevented ordinary Zimbabweans from accessing and enjoying their as enshrined by the country’s constitution.
“This blood subsidiary therefore comes as a relief considering the high numbers of people dying in public hospitals while families have been disposing valuable possessions for a song in order to save their loved ones,” he said.
Government has been gradually reducing the cost of blood to make it affordable to the public.
A pint of blood was reduced to $100 in October 2016 from $135 and was further reduced to $80 in November 2017.
A $4, 2 million subsidy from the Health Levy was then injected in January this year leading to another price reduction to $50 and government then moved to completely scrap it from Sunday.
Rusike however, said government must come clean on the source of funding as the previous reduction in blood price was necessitated by the injection of funds from the Health Levy Fund set by government in 2016.
“I think what is also important is for us to hear from government how they are going to fund this and how sustainable it is,” he said.
“The Government has been taking money from the health levy fund but when that fund was set up it was specifically earmarked to address the shortages of drugs and that of obsolete equipment in our health institution. So we hope that budget line will not be shifted to subsidize the cost of blood.
“Government has to be clear in terms of either coming up with innovative ways to fund this blood, let the country know how they are going to address this or in the event that the national budget has been increased, there should be specific budget line to cover the cost of blood,” said Rusike.