CANBERRA, Australia — Australian users of social media giant Facebook will soon receive information and updates on blood donation opportunities on the platform’s app.
Facebook will, from June 14, establish a new “blood donations” feature for Australians where they can sign up for updates about giving blood, learn of donation opportunities at local centers and invite friends to donate.
The feature will be available for those aged between 18 and 65.
Similar schemes for Facebook users overseas have prompted more than 100 million users to sign up for information on blood donation, the social media platform said.
Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, which oversees Australia’s blood donation system, said it needs more than 31,000 blood donations each week – one every 24 seconds – to meet the needs of patients.
But most Australian donors are currently aged over 45, and the organization is hoping to recruit younger donors through Facebook.
“This means we are able to let people who have updated their profile know when a blood donor center nearby needs their help,” said Samantha Bartlett, Lifeblood marketing director, in a statement.
“Over the last 12 months, with the rise of people working from home, people’s donating habits have changed, so this is a great way for people to know when their ‘new’ local donor center needs a helping hand.”
Facebook Australia and New Zealand public policy director Mia Garlick said the platform was keen to help boost blood donation numbers locally.
“We want it to make it as easy as possible for our Australian community to donate blood and save lives, and within a few clicks, you can sign up, be notified when your local donor center needs more donors to book in, as well as encourage others to do the same,” said Garlick in a statement.
One in three Australians will need blood or blood products in their lifetime, says a report by Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.
“One in 30 Australians give blood each year (3 percent). Australia needs more than 31,000 donations every week. In 2018-2019, 523,688 Australians voluntarily gave blood, plasma or platelets to help others.”
There are 96 blood donor centers and mobile centers in Australia.
As per reports by HealthDirect, most healthy adults (aged 18-76) are able to give blood in Australia.
“If you want to donate blood, there are some things that might affect your eligibility to be a blood donor,” states the report. “These include which medications you take, your medical history, and your travel history. The screening process for all donated blood in Australia is strict to ensure the safety of patients who receive the blood.”
(Edited by Gaurab Dasgupta and Saptak Datta)
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