Itai Edwin Ndongwe
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed life insurance company, Old Mutual Zimbabwe, has handed over US$15 000 to National Blood Services Zimbabwe for the development of a low-cost renewable solar energy system for the blood bank.
The NBSZ has undertaken to launch a blood donation drive in a bid to alleviate Zimbabwe’s blood shortages with campaign running across the country.
The drive is part of the NBSZ’s mandate to improve the quality of life of patients in need of blood without discrimination.
However, the organisation has been affected by the unstable electricity supply that supports its blood bank cold chain, which is meant to ensure the supply of precious lifesaving blood to hospitals and health institutions in Zimbabwe.
Blood is a perishable product which is preserved by the use of a reliable cold chain from its point of collection to the end user.
The cold blood chain devices in the laboratories are refrigerators, plasma freezers, and platelet agitators, which are heavily affected by load shedding forcing the NBSZ to rely on fuel generators.
The donation by the Old Mutual, is, however, is expected to play a critical role in preserving the blood.
Addressing the media at the handover ceremony in Harare on Thursday, Old Mutual group chief customer and operations officer Isiah Mashinga said the company recognized the state of emergency and the COVID-19 induced pressures on the NBSZ.
He said Old Mutual was committed to playing its role in supporting communities that they operate in and that donating blood is key to saving lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left the NBSZ in short supply because its major source of blood are schools while lockdown measures have reduced the number of learners on school grounds resulting in a reduction in supplies.
“The lockdown measures and vaccination requirements have affected the supply of blood as the biggest sources of blood such as schools were closed. Old Mutual has come forward to make this life-saving donation.
“We are committed to communities in which we serve, following the NBSZ’s blood donation campaign plea for assistance from all corporates to donate blood, we stepped up to the plate,” he said.
The NBSZ has a blood donor benefit policy that makes it possible for donors to access blood and blood products for free either in private or public facilities provided they meet the criteria.
“At Old Mutual, we firmly believe in the youth and have rolled out programs that equip them for positive futures. We call out to them to participate in the Pledge 25 campaign by NBSZ, a program that was initiated to encourage youths to donate blood in large numbers and boost blood stocks,” he said.
NBSZ board chairman Rogers Matsikidze expressed gratitude for the Old Mutual’s generosity work adding that the donation will allow the organization to capitalize on low-cost renewable energy to acquire sustainable development in terms of energy provision.
He said the gesture will also help to alleviate the organization’s current crisis.
“This donation will enable us to have a reliable source of power, which is critical to maintaining a reliable cold chain for blood components.
“We appreciate your gesture of generosity and kindness towards the blood banks’ need and your contribution will go a long way in addressing the power challenges that NBSZ faces,” he said.