• Monday, Dec 09, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:02 am

Online platforms help save lives

  • Published at 06:39 pm August 27th, 2019
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This photo illustration taken on March 22, 2018 shows apps for Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp on a smartphone AFP

Apps, bot, facebook community, help meeting blood demands

Sazid Mahmood, a Jagannath University student, needed 2 bags of AB positive blood for his sister’s colleague, who was suffering from liver disease and needed an operation on an emergency basis.

BLOOD FOR LIFE, a facebook group of 34,000 members, helped Mahmood to get the necessary blood. He posted the message on the page of the group, and got the necessary bags of blood from a friend and another person he knew from before. 

People helping each other through Facebook

Shoaib Kamal, an admin of the Facebook page ‘Blood Donation Bangladesh’ started a page in 2011, possibly the first Facebook blood donating page in the country. The page helped provide a huge amount of blood during the Dengue outbreak this year, and during the Rana Plaza incident.

People with a need for blood can contact the members of the page via Facebook messenger, or can post on the page. The donors then donate the blood by visiting the hospitals where the patient is being admitted.

“During the dengue outbreak, on average we received requests for 70 to 90 bags of blood per day, and 80% of the requirements were successfully met,” said Kamal.

But there are bad sides too, at times, there are syndicates who demand money and sell blood watching posts in these groups.

“We continuously post on Facebook not to give any money to the donor through bkash,” he added.

Besides, blood donation apps are recently becoming popular in the country as it could meet the demand for blood from every corner of the country

One of the apps is BloodHouse, first map-integrated mobile phone app of the country, which already has more than 3000 donors across the country.

Ariful Islam, one of the co-founders of BloodHouse said ‘‘all service seekers need to do is to do is  click on the app.’’

“It will show the donor’s name, phone number and address around the service seeker, tracking the location on the map. Service seekers can directly make phone calls to the donors using the app,” he added.

About 50-60 people donate blood every day using the app, said the co-founder.

The app began its activity early this year and now have over 5000 users, including 3000 regular donors. The average download rate of the app is 200 a day

Moreover, there are also some messenger-based apps which are called bot, that works automatically, especially as it searches for and finds donor’s information according to people’s demands.

‘Blood Bot’ is one such platform. According to the admin of its Facebook page admin, if someone wants to donate blood then he or will be able to see the list of people requiring blood, within an 8 kilometres parameter. 

It also sends notifications to donor’s messenger as per the patient’s  requirement. Aaiz Haque, a Dhaka city dweller, asked for O negative blood on the bot a few days ago. He said, “It’s very easy to find donors, as the bot responds and provides the phone number of the donor very quickly.”