Facebook has introduced its new blood donation feature for users in Pakistan. The company has stated that the new feature will ‘make it easier for people to sign up to be blood donors, and to help connect donors with people and organizations in need’.
The availability of safe blood remains a problem in Pakistan, with patients and their loved ones having to face the brunt of finding suitable blood donors in emergency situations. In most cases, people end up reaching out to their wider networks on social media.
There are thousands of posts each month in Pakistan seeking blood donors on Facebook, and over 100,000 people in blood donation groups, says a press release issued on the occasion by the social media site.
The new feature will let Facebook users in Pakistan sign up to be blood donors either on their profile homepage or by visiting: facebook.com/donateblood.
The company has assured that user information will remain private. Though the default profile setting for donors will be private, they will have the option of sharing their donor status as widely as required. The blood donation tool is available on Android, iOS and desktop platforms.
Read more: Need Blood? Go Online
The new feature makes it easier for people and organizations, such as blood banks and hospitals, to connect with donors on Facebook. All they need to do now is to visit: facebook.com/findblooddonors. They can also create special posts to reach a wider audience. Facebook will automatically notify blood donors who may be close by. The donors can then review the request and, if they wish to respond, contact the requester directly through a phone call. The person seeking blood donation will not be able to see any information about the donor, unless the donor expressly provides it while replying.
In addition, organizations hosting blood camps in Pakistan can now create an event on Facebook, and any blood donors in close proximity to the event will be automatically notified.
The new feature was earlier launched in India and Bangladesh, where close to seven million people have already signed up to be blood donors on Facebook.
In a social media post on the development, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had said that the idea for this feature came out of a hackathon, and the project manager, Hema Budaraju, the head of product, health at Facebook, helped make it a reality as this was a subject close to her. Her father, who had been diagnosed with cancer five-years ago, lost so much blood during chemotherapy that he needed a transfusion every day for a week. As a result, Budaraju reached out to family and friends to ask for blood donations. Many people showed up to donate blood once they realized it would help her dad. “This is a constant reminder for Hema that people are always willing to help, they just need the tools and information to do so,” Zuckerberg said.
In a statement, Hema Budaraju said, “We hope that by increasing awareness and providing tools for people and organizations in need to connect with those who are willing to help, we can make it easier for people to donate blood.”