Mutare-based gospel musician Blessing Shumba has been appointed brand ambassador for the Manicaland National Blood Services Zimbabwe.

The gospel artist, who scooped an award at the National Arts Merit Awards last February, joins the list of other artists such as Sandra Ndebele, Tryson Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah and Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave who have already joined hands with NBSZ to enhance the visibility of its brand and encourage a culture of donating blood regularly among Zimbabweans.

Speaking during a press conference in Harare, which ran under the theme “Every blood donor is a hero”, NBSZ public affairs manager Esther Massundah said her organisation was happy to unveil Shumba as their ambassador for the Manicaland Province. “One of the things we are doing is encouraging our branches to find someone who will carry our message within their provinces. We identified Blessing Shumba, who is a renowned gospel artist,” said Massundah.

Contacted for comment, Shumba said his appointment makes him an ambassador for life adding that, as a Christian, his appointment would help him influence behavioural change and transform people’s lives. “I believe, as Christians, we have a divine mandate to save our people. Such an appointment, if it can make the world a better place (that is what we are sent to accomplish), is in fact part of our ministry.”

He added that being a pastor and a musician gave him the advantage of being in touch with society and that will make it easy for him to preach the message of donating blood and the related advantages that come with being a regular blood donor. Blessing also explained that being a blood donor requires one to be sexually mature in order to ensure that the blood donated is clean and suitable for transfusion.

He said since donating blood is critical in saving lives, “It also means behavioural change should be a major subject in churches for youths and couples. Remember there is no machine on earth that can manufacture blood, only God the Creator created blood. If you give it to somebody in need, you have given that person life. Hence, the responsibility is upon us to save those in critical need of blood.”

Not all Christian churches support blood transfusions, though. According to WikipediaJehovah’s Witnesses in their Watch Tower Society publications teach that the Witnesses’ refusal of transfusions of whole blood or its four primary components—red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma—is a non-negotiable religious stand and that those who respect life as a gift from God do not try to sustain life by taking in blood, even in an emergency.Witnesses are taught that the use of fractions such as albumin, immunoglobulins and hemophiliac preparations are “not absolutely prohibited” and a matter of personal choice. Although accepted by the majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a minority does not endorse this doctrine.

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