New Delhi: Facebook on Monday urged people to donate blood and encourage friends and family to do the same, as part of its campaign for the World Blood Donor Day.
World Blood Donor Day is held on June 14 each year.
Facebook launched its blood donations feature in 2017 in India. Since then, 60 million people have signed up to receive notifications about donating blood. Globally, over 100 million people have signed up to be blood donors on Facebook since 2017.
"Facebook's blood donation tool helps connect blood banks with donors to ensure a steady supply of safe blood to those in need especially in these unprecedented times. In India, over 60 million Facebook users have signed up to receive blood donation notifications from blood banks. As part of World Blood Donor Day, we encourage everyone to not only sign up to be a blood donor, but share their experience to inspire others to do the same," said Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships, Facebook India, in a statement.
The Blood Donations feature on the social networking site is a useful tool that connects people to their local blood banks, so they know when there is a shortage and where it is safe to donate.
People can sign up to receive notifications about donating blood on Facebook by going to Blood Donations in the 'About' section of their profile. When blood donation centers need donors, they can request donations and send notifications to those nearby who have signed up. People will be able to see requests and opportunities to donate on http://facebook.com/donateblood.
"We have been using the FB Blood Donation Tool since May 2018. With online mode in place, it's getting easier to find particular group donors through our Facebook posts, which automatically notifies the blood donors. With the reach of the platform and high engagement on the posts, it has become quicker to spread the word in the community," said Dr. Aditi Kumar, Founder, Aarohi Blood Bank, Hyderabad, Telangana.
As countries around the world continue to grapple with the ongoing Covid pandemic, blood banks are in urgent need of blood donors.
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has also urged fans to donate blood through a video message by speaking about a personal incident and leveraging the power of Facebook communities to reach a wider audience.
Covid-19 has intensified India's problem of chronic blood shortage due to lockdown, and fear of infection. In April, last year, the Indian Red Cross Society had raised an alarm that voluntary donation had fallen by almost 100 per cent.
"Globally, 42 per cent of blood is collected in high-income countries, which are home to just 16 per cent of the world's population. In lower-middle-income countries, the median blood donation rate is 6.8 per 1000 people. In low-income countries, it is five," according to Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.
"We can all contribute. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, regular blood donors have continued to give, despite limited mobility and other challenges. Their extraordinary effort has increased health system resilience and must be celebrated for what it is -- a lifesaving gift, and an expression of human solidarity. Throughout the Covid-19 response, but also beyond it, every person's contribution takes us one step closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage, the Flagship Priority and Sustainable Development Goal target that underpins all others," she added.
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