Facebook partners with RBC to boost blood donation drive

Facebook and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) have announced a partnership to woo blood donors through an app feature which will connect blood donation centres in Rwanda to donors across the country.

Any citizen between 18 and 60 years of age will have an option to sign up as a blood donor on Facebook, be notified once blood centre near them are in need of blood, as well as be able to mobilise their friends and family to donate.


The initiative comes at a critical time where there is need to ensure an adequate and safe blood supply in Rwanda, according to RBC.


The Covid-19 pandemic has caused blood shortages around the world as blood donation campaigns were cancelled while social distancing measures have kept people at home.


How it works

Facebook users who want to donate blood can sign up by going to ‘blood donations’ in the ‘about’ section of your profile, or sign up through the link: facebook.com/donate blood.

On the other hand, blood donation centers working with RBC can create special page posts that inform donors what they need and include a ‘call to action’ button that allows donors to contact them directly from the post.

Once a blood donor request is posted, people located nearby who have signed up will receive a notification of the request through their Facebook notifications. Notified donors will be able to review a given request and contact the requestor if they wish to respond to it.

A timely move

According to the National Centre of Blood Transfusion, only 0.6 percent of Rwandans donate blood every year, falling short on WHO’s recommendation that at least one percent of the population should donate blood.

RBC highlighted that the partnership with Facebook comes at an opportune moment.

“We are very delighted to have Facebook as our partner to help educate Rwandans on the blood donation requirements as well as donating locations,” said Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of RBC.

“This will help drive crucial donations during this difficult time when many blood banks have extremely low stocks given the Covid-19 outbreak and with  people staying at home.”

Commenting on the launch, Facebook's Head of Public Policy for East and Horn of Africa Mercy Ndegwa said, “We are excited as Facebook to be working with the Rwanda Biomedical Centre and other partners to help address the blood needs of the country.

“Facebook is committed to building safe and supportive communities which is why we’ve launched this feature in collaboration with the Rwanda Biomedical  Centre to serve the needs of the Rwanda blood donation ecosystem.”

Since the launch of Facebook’s blood donation tool in 2017, more than 70 million people have signed up to be blood donors. 

The feature was first launched on the African continent in South Africa in May this year.

It is currently available also in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Niger, US, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Taiwan and Pakistan.


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