THE illegal sale of blood at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital in Lusaka will be investigated because blood is supposed to be administered to patients free of any charge, Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde, has said.
Dr Kasonde said it was sad and unfortunate that some members of staff at the hospital were involved in the illegal sale of blood.
In an interview yesterday, the minister described the matter as serious, adding he would follow it up and issue a statement afterwards.
‘’It is sad and most unfortunate that such a thing is happening, it is a serious matter. I will follow it up comprehensively and find out what is happening. It is a serious matter that we must look into. I will give a comprehensive statement thereafter,’’ said Dr Kasonde.
This follows a case in which a patient who was admitted to the institution on January 23, 2015 required urgent blood transfusion but the blood bank staff at the hospital notified his relatives that there was no blood available.
However, a few minutes later another person gave them a tip-off that the hospital would look for blood if some money exchanged hands and advised them to go back to the blood bank.
A member of staff demanded K500 for the required quantity of blood.
The mother of the now deceased person explained that the officers at the blood bank refused to give her son blood on credit and insisted on cash on delivery before they could administer the blood.
She then produced K400 and pleaded with the staffer to accept the K400 for the sake of saving life.
A further two units of blood was required of which the staff from the blood bank demanded for another payment but the patient’s mother was not able to pay the money.
The blood was not released and the patient died later.
The Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) has called for the immediate arrest of the officers who are allegedly selling blood to desperate patient at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital.
ZMA president Aaron Mujajati said the act was criminal and must be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians.
‘’It is a criminal act and theft, this commodity is acquired by Government at the expense of tax-payers and donors. Surely to collect money from patients who are desperate is criminal and immoral. The perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted,” Dr Mujajati said.
‘’The association received this information with shock and sadness, there is need to educate the general public on the need to donate blood and keep the stocks high, the stocks for blood must be guaranteed. We must shift from the culture of depending on schools for blood,’’ said Dr. Mujajati.
Levy Mwanawasa Hospital Medical Superintendent John Kachimba has instituted investigations in the matter which he described as unfortunate.
He said it was immoral for anyone at the institution to take advantage of a desperate situation.
The hospital superintendent said punitive action would be taken against any staff indulging in the illegal sell of blood.