This World Blood Donors Day let the pulse beat with Facebook

05:57 PM | 14 Jun, 2021
This World Blood Donors Day let the pulse beat with Facebook
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Facebook company is constantly iterating, solving problems, and working together to connect people all over the world through our apps and technologies. Giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. The platform has evolved itself with the changing needs of the world. In 2017, Facebook launched its Blood Donation feature, which connected blood donors with safe and verified blood donation centers.

This feature came in just the nick of time, little did anyone realize the importance of such a feature at that time. In 2020 with the pandemic and the world going into lockdown, the health care system faced the biggest hit seen by this generation. People were not allowed to move freely in the streets, let alone go to hospitals with the fear of the virus. This hampered the blood donation supply for patients. However, the Facebook feature for blood donation came in handy. Across Pakistan, Facebook partnered with key health stakeholders, providing the most accurate and updated information for blood donation centers.

It is imperative to keep in mind that donated blood does not only come in use for surgeries and emergencies, there is an abundance of thalassemia patients who need a blood transfusion on a regular basis. Without the supply of donated blood, these patients had little to no relief.

Through its partnership with the KPK and Balochistan governments, Facebook ensured that the information provided by the health ministry was updated and tracked on a regular basis. Individuals who had signed up for the feature were given intimations of when a certain blood bank was in need of a donation, within their areas marked. The initiative was endorsed and appreciated by the Government of KPK and Balochistan.

Endorsing the partnership, Dr. Faisal Sultan-- Special Advisor to Prime Minister said, ‘Pakistan has always had a large blood donation network, however with the arrival of restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain was badly damaged. To salvage the blood donation supply, our partnership with Facebook allowed us to provide accurate information/data for donors who wanted to donate blood. This feature has also ensured that a continuous and smooth supply is readily available for blood donation centers. We are grateful for this feature’s support during difficult times for our health care system.’

Fast forward to the year 2021 when the arrival of vaccination for the virus has slowly and gradually brought our lives a semblance of order; this feature is still as relevant and useful as the time of the pandemic. Regular blood donors are always on the lookout for when and where to donate. And in a pilot program in Pakistan, the Ministry of Health reported that three out five blood banks found more than half of their blood donors through Facebook. 

To date, over  7 million people in Pakistan have registered to donate blood. Results from a pilot program with 5 regional blood banks showed that 3 out of 5 of those blood banks received over 50% of their voluntary donations directly from Facebook.

Based on the success of the pilot, centers nationwide are now using the Facebook Blood Donation Feature. The Safe Blood Transfusion Programme (SBTP)-the Facebook partnership has boosted national efforts to promote voluntary blood donations, raised awareness about blood safety, and increased overall community engagement. As a result, the SBTP modified its national strategy for donor mobilization to include social media as an effective way to help fulfill the country’s need for blood donations. The SBTP now views social media as playing a key role in shifting the paradigm from reliance on family replacement donations to 100% regular voluntary donations.

This World Donor Day 2021, we should join hands to donate blood so that the world keeps beating. It is communities coming together in this manner that leads to success in the country.