Chefs loot donated blood coupons

HARARE – Blood coupons bought by UNICEF and UNFPA to help disadvantaged pregnant women are reportedly being looted by senior officials in the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

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The development means that the country’s target to reduce the maternal maternity ratio is under threat as poor women supposed to benefit from the coupon facility are failing to access blood.

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In a bid to reduce maternal deaths due to blood loss during childbirth, UNICEF and UNFPA partnered government and have been buying blood coupons which are redeemable at state-run hospitals across the country.

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It has however emerged that some senior officials in the Ministry of Health and Child Care are abusing the facility and are accessing the coupons for other purposes.

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Contacted for comment, the Principal Director – Curative Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Mr Christopher Tapfumanei said the blood coupons programme is going on well, adding that all hospitals across the country are getting their allocations.

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By Thursday, Chitungwiza hospital had not yet received its allocation of blood coupons since the beginning of 2015.

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A pregnant woman who develops complications or loses excessive blood during childbirth, requires a transfusion of an average of three pints.

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A pint of blood is pegged at between US$135 to US$200 depending on the hospital.

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The country’s maternal mortality rate is currently pegged at 525 deaths per every 100 000 live births and excessive loss of blood during and after delivery is among the leading causes of maternal deaths.

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The availability of free blood in government hospitals was expected to help lower the number of maternal deaths.