A clinical lab technician holds a blood sample. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
A clinical lab technician holds a blood sample. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Blood donations go virtual - Here's how

By Chegofatso Modika Time of article published May 23, 2020

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Donating blood will be as easy as sending a tweet or sharing a meme with your friends on Instagram.

Facebook has partnered with the South African National Blood Services (SANBS) in a bid to attract more blood donations during the pandemic.

South Africans who are 18 years and older will have the option to sign up as blood donors on Facebook, be notified when blood donor centres near them have an urgent need for donations and invite friends to donate.

South Africa is the first African country to have this kind of partnership with Facebook and it is in response to people staying at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Other countries include the US, Brazil, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

The blood donation tool is linked to a Facebook profile but people are still able to sign up to donate blood through conventional methods.

The SANBS has more than 500 000 registered blood donors.

Khensani Mahlangu, communications officer at SANBS, said the rarest blood type in the country is AB negative. She said many people had been signing up to make use of the new tool.

Nunu Ntshingila, regional director for Facebook Africa, said: “We continue to remain committed to building safe and supportive communities on Facebook during these difficult times. We want to make it easy to connect people that want to donate with opportunities to give, while learning about the blood donation opportunities near them and inspiring action."

Marike Gevers, corporate public relations officer at Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS), said the safety of staff, blood donors and blood recipients had always been their priority and they had implemented stringent hygiene and precautionary measures since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On arrival, each donor’s temperature will be measured and needs to be under 37.5°C. Donors then complete a Covid-19 screening questionnaire, which includes screening for symptoms. Our travel deferral defers donors for 28 days if they have travelled outside South Africa. Staff have all been issued with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks," she said.

“This is an important partnership with SANBS and the Western Cape Blood Service, and one which we believe will make a positive difference in South Africa," added Gevers.

Michelle Vermeulen, promotions, public relations and planning manager at the WCBS, said they were excited to be part of this initiative and look forward to welcoming new donors to their sites at N1 City, Blue Route Mall and 9 Long Street, Cape Town.

Weekend Argus 

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