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Facebook Introduces New Feature in Pakistan to Help Increase Blood Donations

Karachi, 27 February 2018 – Today, Facebook is launching a blood donations feature in Pakistan to make it easier for people to sign up to be blood donors, and to help connect donors with people and organizations in need. Pakistan, like many countries, has a shortage of safe blood. In some cases, this shortage means patients and their families are responsible for finding donors to replace the blood they receive from blood banks or hospitals. This can cause high-stress situations as people try to find blood donors on their own. Many people are reaching out to their networks on Facebook. There are thousands of posts each month in Pakistan seeking blood donors on Facebook, and over 100,000 people in blood donation groups.

This is where Facebook can help, by finding ways to more efficiently bring blood donors, people and organizations together. We have worked together with nonprofit organizations, health industry experts, potential donors and people who have used Facebook to find blood donors to ensure that this feature was designed to be useful to people. We recently launched a similar tool in India and Bangladesh, where nearly 7 million people have signed up to be blood donors on Facebook.

Making It Easier to Become a Blood Donor
Starting today, people using Facebook in Pakistan will be able to sign up to be blood donors either on their profiles or by visiting facebook.com/donateblood. All information will remain private and set to Only Me by default, but people can choose to share their donor status more widely. This feature will be available on Android, iOS and desktop.

Connecting People and Organizations with Blood Donors
We’re also make it easier for people and organizations, such as blood banks and hospitals, to connect with blood donors on Facebook.

  • When people are seeking donations, they will be able to create special posts to spread the word or go to facebook.com/findblooddonors. Facebook will automatically notify blood donors who may be nearby to help. Donors can then review the request and, if they wish to respond, contact the requester directly through a phone call. The requester won’t be able to see any information about the donor, unless the donor explicitly provides it when he or she replies.
  • When organizations are hosting a blood camp event in Pakistan, they will be able to create an event on Facebook and nearby blood donors will be automatically notified. Donors can review the event and indicate if they’re going or interested.

Hema Budaraju, Head of Product, Health at Facebook: “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.”

Prof. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Coordinator, Safe Blood Transfusion Programme, Ministry of National Health Services, Government of Pakistan: “Safe Blood Transfusion Programme is proud to work with Facebook. We believe Facebook’s Blood Donation feature will help us address a key programmatic challenge for us, that is reaching a younger population of potential donors. We are confident that now this gap will soon become history.”

Dr Saeed Elahi, Chairman, Pakistan Red Crescent Society: “Safe blood saves lives and improves health. For 70 years, the Pakistan Red Crescent has worked to prevent and alleviate human suffering. We believe Facebook’s Blood Donation feature will make it easier for people in need to find donors and increase blood donations overall. Thousands of people seek blood donations every month in Pakistan and today the Facebook Blood Donation tool will help raise awareness of and the importance of reliable access to safe blood in Pakistan.”

People in Pakistan can go to facebook.com/donateblood to learn more and sign up to be a blood donor. For organizations interested in using the blood donations feature, contact us here.

Technology Magazine Pakistan