THE National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) has partnered Facebook to shore up the number of blood donors amid dwindling levels of the national blood bank.
Facebook Public Policy Director Kojo Boayke, speaking in a zoom meeting last Wednesday, said NBSZ has joined eight other African countries who are using a Facebook application with the Blood Donations Feature tool which is used to boost the number of blood donors online.
NBSZ recently indicated that blood levels have dwindled because of the country’s lockdown which is aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
Most blood donors are school going children.
“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, to give whilst learning about the blood donation around them and hopefully inspiring action within communities.
“This is an important partnership with the National Blood Service Zimbabwe and a necessary step that will make a positive difference to the blood donation ecosystem in Zimbabwe,” Boakye said.
It has been established that NBSZ engaged Facebook Africa in May 2020 expressing interest with the Blood donations feature tool which was being promoted globally.
The key potents of the blood donation tool is that it connects people wanting to donate blood.
The feature also keeps blood donors informed on the next visit by the Blood Service to a particular community.
Furthermore, the feature also enables the blood service to appeal for blood in times of shortages.
The Facebook platform is aimed at reaching out and recruit blood donors during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also raises awareness on the NBSZ blood donation activities which will be taking place in different NBSZ static clinics and mobile collections sites in the community.
Currently, Zimbabwe is the 8th country in Africa, the 2nd in Southern Africa after South Africa to launch the Facebook blood donations features.
NBSZ Spokesperson Esther Masundah said the platform has come at an opportune moment.
“The challenges brought by Covid-19 have necessitated the need for NBSZ to embrace the new ways of blood donor mobilisation. The partnership with Facebook Africa is also in line with the organisation’s efforts to collaborate with value added partners.
“Facebook is very popular with our blood donors and through this new platform they will also be able to assist in the recruitment new donors by inviting their families and friends through this new application to scheduled blood donors in the different communities,” she said.
Zimbabweans who are between 18-65 years old will have the option of signing up as blood donors on Facebook, be notified when blood centres near them are in urgent need for donations and invite friends to donate.
The feature is currently available in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Cote Devoire, Kenya, Niger and South Africa.