KARACHI: Today, in support of World Blood Donor Day on June 14, we are launching Blood Donations on Facebook, a new center where people in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, and India can find opportunities to donate nearby. We are also running a campaign in these countries to raise awareness of blood shortage and the importance and impact of donating.
People who visit Blood Donations on Facebook can also sign up to be a blood donor to get notified directly when there is a need for blood nearby. To date, more than 10 million people have signed up and thousands of donations have been facilitated through Facebook.
Blood Donations on Facebook
We know that when donors have information and opportunities to give, they step up to help. But often donors don’t know where and when to donate. Blood Donations on Facebook shows people opportunities to donate in their city, including nearby blood donation events, requests for blood donors and blood banks. We have also made it easy for organizations to add requests and events to the center. People will be able to access Blood Donations on Facebook from the explore menu on their device.
World Blood Donor Day Campaign
In many countries, including Pakistan, blood donations are typically at their lowest during May and June. To help raise awareness of the shortage and the need for donations, Facebook will be running a campaign through the month of June to encourage people to donate blood, share stories of people who have saved lives using these features, and educate people about the process of donating blood.
Professor Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Coordinator, Safe Blood Transfusion Programme explains, “During the summer vacations and in the holy month of Ramadan blood donation rates fall in Pakistan and the past few years these times have overlapped and caused real hardship to the patients, particularly the large population of transfusion dependent thalassaemia patients.
Our blood banks thus face an urgent need to collect blood through repeat donations from our regular donors and also by recruiting (and retaining) more new donors to ensure replenishment of blood stocks from a low-risk population to maintain the smooth functioning of the system. The government’s Safe Blood Transfusion Programme welcomes Blood Donations through Facebook which make it easier for people to support their local blood donation events and respond to requests for blood donations. Remember your one blood donation can help save the lives of three different patients.”
Shasha S. shared her recent experience, “My father had to have open heart surgery and the hospital told us we needed to find 6 donors to fulfil the blood requirements. Unfortunately our friends and contacts were unable to donate as they were fasting. Lucky I remembered the Blood Donation feature on Facebook, and quickly clicked on the icon, shared my father’s blood type and details of where people could donate. Within hours, two strangers came forward to donate blood to my father. My family is so grateful, we were so worried that we would be unable to find the blood we needed, but through Facebook we found extra help we needed. Today my father is getting better every day and I encourage everyone to sign up as a donor.”
We hope that by raising awareness and letting people know where and when they can donate, we can increase blood donations and contribute to a more sustainable blood supply.