Friday, 23 May 2014

Should Mark Zuckerberg allow blood donation status on Facebook?

Facebook has emerged not just as a social media tool but something that makes our world go around. It has the potential to change the world with over 1.28 billion active users and that’s why is asking Facebook to add blood donation status on people’s profile pages. There is almost always a shortage of blood in both developing and developed countries. This is a fact and the situation has been this way for quite some time despite so many people willing to donate blood.

A petition has been started by, an Indian company which uses Facebook to help people fight blood donors. was started by 24-year-old Karthik Naralasetty after he was moved by the plight of a four-year-old girl who was suffering from thalassemia. He had told us earlier in an exclusive interview: ‘SocialBlood plugs into the Facebook for the obvious reasons of having everyone in one place. On syncing with the service, the user adds information like the city they are available in, geofence (for notifications for blood request), blood type and if they can donate blood. Then it pulls up list of connections that are already using the service. The interface is fairly simple to use, the filters on the top bar help to narrow down on blood request and donors available for a particular blood type. The map pulls up that information with markings on the location and a legend is available for the assistance of first time users.

The beauty of a social platform like this is the fact that, it helps democratize and populate the system with the known network. We can scan the network for blood relations (known people with the same blood type as ours) and invite members which can be extremely useful during the time of distress. The user can also make a blood request using a quick form asking critical questions. The user adds information like what component (red blood cells, plasma or whole blood) along with type is required and adding other details like the number of units required, the date of requirement and hospital name.

Many people require blood from accident victims to people suffering from rare blood disorders. It’s important to ensure that these people get blood that is free from HIV, hepatitis viruses and other infections which can be transmitted through unsafe transfusion. In high-income countries, transfusion is most commonly used to support advanced medical treatment and complex surgeries like open-heart surgery and advance trauma care. In low- and middle-income countries it is used often for management of pregnancy-related complications, childhood malaria complicated by severe anemia and trauma-related injuries.

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