As Bangladesh has the shortage of safe blood like many other countries, social networking giant Facebook is set to roll out a new feature here on Tuesday to help people in need of blood by connecting them directly to blood donors.
Bangladesh is the second country after India where Facebook is coming up with the toll to make it easy for people to find blood and bring the blood donors, blood recipients and organisations together more efficiently.
“Starting on Tuesday, people using Facebook in Bangladesh will be able to sign up to be blood donors. To sign up, people can edit their profiles to let others know that they’re willing to donate blood or visit facebook.com/donateblood,” Facebook product manager, health Hema Budaraju, told UNB on Monday during an interview.
To help encourage participation, she said they will show a message in news feed or people can edit their profiles to sign up. “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 www.”
In the next few weeks, Hema said they will make it further easier for people and organisations, such as blood banks and hospitals, to connect with blood donors on Facebook.
According to WHO, she said Bangladesh is one of the 71 countries in the world which is facing the shortage of safe blood supply.
Besides, Hema said, people in Bangladesh have been making thousands of posts on Facebook looking for blood donors while more than 1400 blood donation groups working to help blood recipients during emergency.
Under the circumstances, the Facebook product manager said, “We want to help people find blood as early as possible and make the process of getting blood easy.”
She said they have launched the feature in India in October last year and more than six million people have already signed up as blood donors there.
Using the new feature here, Hema said when people need blood they will be able to create special posts to spread the word. “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.”
But the requester will not be able to see any information about the donor, unless the donor explicitly provides it when he or she replies.
Besides, she said, when hospitals and any other organisations want to set up any blood donation camp, they will be able to create an event on Facebook, and it will send notification to nearby blood donors so that they can donate blood.
“We hope by raising awareness and growing the number of blood donors in Bangladesh, we can make it easier for people and organisations to give and receive blood in ways that weren’t possible before,” Hema added.
Facebook programmes head, South Asia, Ritesh Mehta said they are launching the feature in Bangladesh as its one of the top three disaster-prone countries in the world. “When disaster hits blood becomes very crucial to save people’s lives. So, we think Bangladesh is a very important place to introduce the feature so that people can be benefited from our platform during their need.”
Asked whether they have any other plan to execute in Bangladesh for welfare of its people and society, he said, “We would like to start our initiatives here in a focused way. Once we get success from the blood donation feature, then we’ll think of other areas to work for.”