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Prohibitive blood prices do not support life- Nduna

by Stephen Jakes
10 Jun 2016 at 07:22hrs | Views
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna has bemoaned that the prohibitive blood prices in the country do not support life and there is a need for a solution to curb the problem.

Speaking in parlaiment Nduna said blood is life and carries the oxygen that people breathe and transmits it to the vital organs of the body.

"Without blood we would not be here. So if there is anything, I would pray and ask that Hon. Members in this House support me in this motion because the prohibitive prices of blood in this country do not to make for a continued life. If there is a prohibitive price attached to the cost of blood we will all perish and we will not have any reason to live because we will not be able to breathe," Nduna said.

"I want to bring you to the issue of antenatal health, where expecting mothers get blood for transfusion for free in district hospitals, national hospitals and any other place. It is an act, or it was arrived at after observation that during birth there is a lot of blood that is lost by expecting mothers or during the time they are giving birth. It was observed that as long as we at that point do not give sufficient blood transfusion and sufficient help to those expecting mothers, we will not have an offspring Mr. Speaker Sir. We will not have any nation to talk about."

He said the history of blood transfusion arose during World War 1 where there was a lot of loss of blood and then the doctors at that time said to themselves how do we mitigate the effects of blood loss?

"They took blood from animals and tried to transfuse it to the soldiers that needed blood. This was a fatal transfusion process and then it was developed from there on until we got to have classified blood groups of which O+ which is my blood group is a universal donor to all people that are in other blood groups A and such like," he said.

"The History of blood transfusion was for the purpose of saving lives and I stand here today and I say it is not a crime to make sure that the cost of blood here in Zimbabwe aligns itself to the cost of blood in the SADC region. The cost of a pint of blood in Zimbabwe is $140.00. How many people that need blood can afford $140.00 per pint?  None!, in particular during the economic hardships that we are currently going through as a nation."

"I also stand here as a Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport which Committee Mr. Speaker Sir speaks to issues of road carnage where we are losing about 5 lives per day through road carnage. The issue of road carnage involves those people and the issue of death involves those people that would have not afforded to get blood transfusion because they are expected to pay before they get blood transfusion because the health institutions are not directed to give blood for free," he added.

He said his prayer includes adults who are basically 80% of the recipients of the blood that is transfused in this nation yet they are 20% of the donors and it also includes that we encourage adults to donate blood.

"In that same vein, it encourages the executive to make sure that blood is given for free or it is subsidized to those that need it, in the same vein that it has been given to those expecting mothers in the hospitals. The reason I came up with this motion is that one day I attended a Combi accident in Chegutu where there were ten people that needlessly lost lives and we ferried those people to hospital. As you looked at those people, blood was gushing out," he said.

"Our bodies can only hold up blood if we lose about 15%, if they lose 40% blood of the 6 litres of blood that we have got in our body. At that point you nearly can lose life but 15% is allowable we can mitigate by giving them supplements so that they can, in a way revive their blood levels and at that point we are losing lives. As I watched those people ,the only notable and the only sane issue to do was to transfuse blood but we lost those ten lives because blood was gushing out."

Nduna said it is my clarion call that we have a lot of money in various areas going as taxes and in particular as the Traffic Safety Council that is 12 ½ % coming from the Insurance Remittances for the automobile.

"Part of that money can be utilised  to mitigate the effect of blood transfusion. It can be utilised to buy blood for those people that would want to get blood. I have said several times that if Hon. Members were to be involved in road carnage, and five people die each day, exactly in two and half months we will not have any Hon. Member in this House. This is how serious the issue of blood transfusion is," he said.

"We should speak with one voice and say to ourselves, because of road carnage, the accidents that are occurring in this nation and we cannot revive that life because some of it, we need blood transfusion. We lose 5% of the country's gross national product. As I have alluded to, we have in this nation a collision every 15 minutes and five people die daily. The issue of the need to give blood cannot be over emphasised. There are a lot of issues that we debate in this House."

"I want to take you to Section 117 of the Constitution which confers on us as Parliament the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe. Peace and good order means nothing if five people are dying each day due to road carnage. If we can save part of those five people using transfusion, if we can save them by the laws that we make here, in particular, if we can enact a law that says there is going to be free blood to everybody that needs it, so that those that are involved in road carnage, road accidents and those that are injured, do not lose lives needlessly. We would be making laws for the good governance, order and peace of the people of this nation," he added.

He said that is Section 48 of the Constitution and it says nothing but void if people do not make laws for the people's right to life.

"As you go to the district hospitals, clinics and quasi-district hospitals, there is already an Act that speaks to blood being given to expecting mothers for free. We can converge and make sure that we also say Government should subsidise. The Executive should subsidise the cost of blood so that everybody that needs blood can get it for free in clinics and district hospitals," he said.

"Our people are dying because they have no blood. I have spoken so voluminously and ventilated that point to the effect that our people are dying because they have need for at least 40% of the blood that is in their body. I have said above 40%, there is no more life but there is still life if they lose 40% of their blood. So in a way, we are asking for the nation to give more than three litres of blood. We are asking for two litres of blood going down. I do not think that we will be asking too much."

He said he comes from a place where come from a place where people walk 30 kms to the next clinic.

"As they get to that clinic, let us give them blood if they need it. I come from a place which is infested with snakes like pythons, cobras and black mambas, only to mention a few. These people that get these snake bites lose needlessly a lot of blood. As they get to clinics they need both the serum and the blood. I ask fervently and I make a clarion call that our people should not be left to die in the rural areas because they cannot get blood for free," he said.

"There are already organisations that are giving blood that is National Blood Transfusion Service which is a quasi private organisation. I applaud them first and foremost for existing. They are existing for a worthy cause. What I also call for is for Government to make sure they subsidise their operations so that they can at least bring down the cost of blood whilst we mitigate the effect of our people to give them blood for free. The issue that I alluded to earlier of accidents is within our control. Before we ask for blood Mr. Speaker Sir, accidents are within our power to avoid. There is a quotation that I need to make from the Australian Traffic Rule which says, "Road sense is the offspring of courtesy and the parent of safety". This is because we are losing a lot of blood due to road carnage."

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