CARELESS talk about selling blood by health workers has the potential to discourage donors from giving and this will result in the country running low on stocks of the lifesaving fluid, says Medical Director at the Zambia National Blood Transfusion Service, Joseph Mulenga.
He said it was a civic responsibility for any member of the public to report to police such criminal activities as blood was meant to be given freely to all patients who required it. Dr Mulenga said it was dangerous for members of the public to be peddling lies about health workers selling blood and yet they have failed to report such crimes to police, to have the perpetrators prosecuted.
“This problem has nothing to do with the health workers or the service providers; it is a public problem because for every transaction there are two people involved, a willing seller and a willing buyer.
“And it is a civic duty of every citizen to report a crime to the police, to report that particular person selling the blood so that he/she can be prosecuted. It is theft and the thief should be reported,” he said.
Dr Mulenga explained that most reports about the sale of blood were made through the media, and usually by an anonymous victim or witness, which left gaps in the authenticity of the story.
He charged that members of the public should be responsible enough and report those selling blood to the police in order to avoid the system getting to desperate situation of low stocks in the country.
“This has nothing to do with UTH or health staff. It is a public problem that needs to be addressed by the people themselves, by taking up their civic duty and report the crime.
“You see a thief and you do not report him/her, it makes you a thief also. Donors will lose trust in the system that we have kept running for a very long time, all because of careless citizens refusing to report malpractices to the police,” Dr Mulenga said.
He said people should not be ‘anonymous’ when reporting serious matters of public interest, because this could affect the national blood stocks when donors withdraw.
Dr Mulenga said blood was meant to be a free product for all patients in need of the life fluid.