Ministry of Health Blood Donation drive in partnership with Facebook

In honor of the upcoming June 14th World Blood Donor day, today, Facebook in partnership with the Ministry of Health announced a blood donation feature that will help connect blood donation centres in Kenya to blood donors across the country. The feature which aims to encourage people to donate blood will enable anyone in Kenya between 18-65 years old to sign up as a blood donor on Facebook to receive notifications from blood donor centers near them that are in need of blood, the feature also allows blood donors to invite their friends and family to donate blood. 

The launch of this initiative comes at a critical time to ensure an adequate and safe blood supply in Kenya. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused blood shortages around the world as blood drives have been cancelled and social distancing measures have kept people at home. Voluntary blood donation remains an essential activity and it’s more important than ever that Kenya has a safe and reliable blood supply.

The Blood Donations feature on Facebook consists of three key components:

  • Option to sign up as a blood donor — Facebook users who opt in have the option to indicate their  willingness to donate blood in the Facebook app. 
  • Blood Banks Inspire Donors – If trusted blood donation centers at the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service need to find donors, they 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.
  • Donor notification — Once a blood donor request is posted, people located nearby who have indicated their willingness to donate blood will be notified of the request through their Facebook notifications. Notified donors will be able review a given request and contact the requestor if they wish to respond to it.
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The Chief Administrative Secretary at The Ministry of Health Dr. Rashid Abdi Aman, BPharm., PhD  welcomed the partnership with Facebook and expressed optimism that the initiative will help develop a blood donation culture amongst Kenyans and show the importance of donating blood. “The expectation is that this will help educate Kenyans on the blood donor requirements, thus driving crucial donations in this time when many blood banks have extremely low stocks given the COVID-19 outbreak and with people staying at home,” he said. 

Commenting on the launch, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy for East & Horn of Africa Mercy Ndegwa said, “We are excited as Facebook to be working with the Ministry of Health 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 designed this feature in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service to serve the needs of the Kenyan 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 on Facebook. The feature is currently available in South Africa, the United States, Brazil, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and, today, was launched in Senegal, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Kenya.

How It Works

People between the ages of 18 – 65 in Kenya can sign up to be a blood donor on Facebook by going to Blood Donations in the About section of their profile, or access the link: facebook.com/donateblood.People who sign up will be able to see requests and opportunities to donate at 33 blood donation sites on Blood Donations on Facebook  on their mobile device

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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