About 20,000 pints of blood are needed each year by Zambia's medical services. The University?
About 20,000 pints of blood are needed each year by Zambia's medical services. The University teaching Hospital in Lusaka, alone, uses between seven and eight thousand units a year. But there has been difficulty in reaching the annual need, due to a shortage of donors to give the badly-needed blood.
So now the University Teaching Hospital has its own mobile blood unit. The unit, a converted bus, travels from place to place, and can deal with five donors at a time. The air-conditioned unit has its own refrigerator for the blood, and a generator to supply its own power.
Last year, the Zambian Red Cross suspended its blood collecting activities, but has now resumed its blood drive through its local branches. After they have given blood, the donors are offered a cold drink or a bottle of beer. In the Copperbelt, donors are paid to give their blood; suggestions that the Zambian government should do the same have been rejected. A recent drive during Humanism Week brought in many donors, and members of the Zambian Army have been supplying a good deal of blood to the University Teaching Hospital.
The mobile unit will also be able to collect blood in rural areas that have previously been beyond the reach of blood drives.
SYNOPSIS: Zambia's first mobile blood bank has gone into service. Complete with its own generator, the vehicle will help bring in more blood, badly needed for Zambia's medical services.
University Teaching Hospital, in Lusaka, which owns unit, need eight thousand units of blood a year. Now, with this converted bus, the hospital will be able to travel to rural areas to collect donations.
Nearly twenty-thousand pints of blood are needed throughout Zambia each year. Last year, the Zambian Red Cross suspended its blood collecting activities but it has now resumed them, through its local branches. The Zambian Army is a major source of blood donors in the country, although an increasing number of private citizens are coming forward to give blood to the hospitals.
After giving a pint at the blood unit, you get a pint back - not blood, but beer or a soft drink. Hospitals in Zambia's Copperbelt have been paying donors for their blood, but the government has decided not to follow suit.
Last week, the mobile unit made a tour of Lusaka's Colleges, and a number of students came forward to give their blood.