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Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
The amount of discarded blood from donors continues to decline, with only 3 percent of donated blood thrown away due to different infections, National Blood Transfusion Zimbabwe has said.
Addressing journalists during a National Aids Council media tour in Harare recently, NBSZ principal medical laboratory scientist Mr Sisodwa Nkomo said the top three infections found in blood were Hepatitis B, which accounted for about 0,8 percent of the total infections; while HIV and syphilis accounted for 0,6 and 0,4 percent respectively.
This translates to one in every 2 000 blood samples infected with Hepatitis C, one in 5 000 samples infected with HIV and one in 10 000 with syphilis.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacts the liver and can cause both acute and chronic diseases while syphilis is sexually transmitted along with HIV which is also contracted through exchange of bodily fluids with an infected person.
“These figures are relatively low compared to some figures, which used to be recorded long back where we used to discard almost 15 percent of donated blood due to HIV alone,” said Mr Nkomo.
He said current figures were proof that the NBSZ screening process was thorough.
“Because we do not want to discard much of the collected blood we have a strict screening process before one donates blood. This process screens for people at high risk of any infection so you find that most infected people won’t even proceed to donate blood,” said Mr Nkomo.
NBSZ planning, information and research manager Dr Tonderai Mapako, who did a thesis on “Transfusion: Transmissible Infections in Zimbabwe”, said the country was doing fairly well compared to other countries in the region in the number of discarded blood due to infections.