Facebook Finds Blood Donors In India

In India, Facebook is putting its extensive powers to good use. The country has a shortage of blood and blood donors, and while it varies per region, the deficit is on average 10% across the whole nation. This means that one in ten people in India arrive at a hospital without the appropriate blood waiting for them, and that has caused family and friends to take matters into their own hands.

When a family member gets sick and needs blood, friends and family often donate themselves, or post a plea to Facebook with the details, asking strangers to donate. Well Facebook has caught on and decided that it wanted to help. Since October 1st, Indians on Facebook have been prompted to sign up as eligible donors. The info they provide is completely private, but Facebook will monitor needs for types of blood in certain areas and message a registered donor if they fit the bill and are close enough. The donor has the ability to post their donation to their feed, to draw awareness to the cause.

It’s an excellent way to highlight the disparity of donors in India, if enough people catch on. Donating blood in India is rare because of widespread confusion about how it’s done, plus a 1995 ban on giving donors money for their blood. Many Indians also hold the belief that blood donation weakens women, or that blood does not regenerate. Sonu Singh, manager at the Rotary Blood Bank in Delhi, says the goal is to correct all this misinformation. “It is very important to [educate] people about it so that we have more voluntary blood donations in our country.”