Hopes Facebook could help cure India’s blood shortage
From October 1st (National Blood Donor Day), Indian Facebook users will be notified of the new option of signing up as blood donors.
According to Facebook’s press release, there will also be an optional notification feature whereby donors can be informed of nearby donation requests . The options will first be available on Android and mobile web – the most widely-used platforms in India.
According to the social media giant, more tools will be rolled out in stages. When individuals or organizations are in need of blood, they’ll be able to create a ‘special type of post’ with all the information donors need to easily offer help. This will include an option to identify the blood group required and even an anecdote about the patient.
If users wish to respond, they can contact the requestor directly through WhatsApp, Messenger or a phone call.
It is hoped that the initiative – a collaboration with non-profit organizations, health industry experts, potential donors, and people who have used Facebook to find blood donors – will help cure or at least reduce India’s blood shortage.
“India, like many countries, has a shortage of safe blood. There aren’t enough people donating blood to meet the demand of people who need it”, said Hema Budaraju, Product Manager, Health and Ritesh Mehta, Head of Programs, South Asia.
With Mumbai alone needing at least 1,000 donors daily, it is unlikely the initiative will make a huge dent in the issue. But arguably, even if it does little but raise awareness, it is still a step in the right direction. For the more cynical, it could be nothing more than rapid PR response to Facebook’s recent association with fake news and the U.S. election scandal.