Facebook has partnered with the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) to encourage people to donate blood.
The programmes start Wednesday with Zimbabweans aged 18-65 years old given an option to sign up as blood donors on Facebook, be notified when blood donor centres near them have an urgent need for donations and invite friends to donate.
It is the first initiative in Africa to be conducted by the social media giant in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen Zimbabwe shortfall of blood donation due to people staying at home to avoid further spread of coronavirus.
“We are committed to building safe and supportive communities on Facebook during these challenging times. It is crucial to make it easy to connect people that want to donate with the opportunity to give, whilst learning about the blood donation centres around them and hopefully inspiring action within their communities. This is an important partnership with the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ) and a necessary step that we believe will make a positive difference to the blood donation ecosystem in Zimbabwe.” Said Kojo Boakye, Public Policy Director Facebook Africa.
Facebook launched the programme back in 2017 and has partnered with blood donation centres across the world with more than 70 million people having signed up to the blood donors on the platform.
Besides Zimbabwe, other African countries signed up to the programme are; Senegal, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Niger and South Africa, with 45 000 people signing up as donors in South Africa within the first month of the launch.
According to WHO, there’s no evidence anywhere in the world that coronavirus or other respiratory viruses can be transmitted through blood transfusion.
“Blood donation is even more essential during the Coronavirus pandemic, where people may be less inclined to donate blood,” said Dr Luo Dapeng, WHO Country Representative in Papua New Guinea.