Islamabad - In order to access the potential voluntary blood donors across the country the Safe Blood Transfusion Program (SBTP) has partnered with ‘Facebook’ and launched a special blood donation feature for the country, said coordinator SBTP on Thursday.

Coordinator SBTP Prof Hasan Abbas Zaheer said this in a media talk held on the occasion of the World Blood Donor Day 2018 was organized by the SBTP here.

Dr. Zaheer informed that to access the potential voluntary donors, particularly the youth, the SBTP has recently partnered with the global social media giant “Facebook” and launched a special blood donation feature for Pakistan.

The feature makes it possible for people to easily sign up to be blood donors and to help connect donors with those in need and blood centers. In addition, organizations hosting blood camps can now create an event on Facebook and blood donors in close proximity to the event will be automatically notified.

This is the first time that Facebook has launched a feature specifically for Pakistan, a country with 40 million Facebook users. Partnership with ‘Facebook’ will complement the national efforts to promote blood safety.      

“The promotion of regular voluntary blood donation culture out of the family donors will transform the demand driven system into supply driven system,” said coordinator SBTP.

SBTP is promoting voluntary blood donations and establishing an internationally recommended new blood transfusion system in Pakistan with the support of the German government through the German KFW Development Bank. Prof. Zaheer informed that it is very important to promote the culture of voluntary blood donations in Pakistan as the country essentially relies on the ‘Family Donors’ to sustain the transfusion system.

“This is not an enviable option and places unnecessary burden on the families of the patients who are already under stress,” he said.

Therefore, instead of family donors, our reliance needs to be on voluntary, regular blood donors so that blood safety standards improve manifold, he added.

Prof Zaheer Abbas also said that in addition reliance on regular voluntary donors will also transform the current ‘demand driven system’ into a ‘supply driven system’ as is the case in the countries which have an efficient and well-functioning blood system.

He informed that the construction of a modern Regional Blood Centre in Islamabad will begin soon through funding from the German government on the land provided by the government.  This centre will serve as blood procurement and distribution center for the entire Islamabad ensuring quality systems to regulate all activities which will involve mobilization and retention of voluntary and regular blood donors.

He added that the blood supply system in the country is witnessing revolutionary developments with the successful implementation of the SBT project in which a network of large modern Regional Blood Centers have been developed through German support. This new infrastructure is now operational and is providing direct benefit to the patients in the shape of safe blood components through hospital blood banks which have been renovated by the project.

Prof. H.A Zaheer, National Coordinator, SBTP informed about the achievements of the blood safety systems reforms being implemented since 2010 by the Programme for improving access to safe blood for transfusion to all in the country.

He also appreciated the technical assistance provided by WHO for promoting blood safety in Pakistan particularly voluntary blood donations.

Also present on the occasion were representatives of the Program partners including KfW, WHO, UNAIDS and senior government officials.

Every year the World Health Organization identifies a new theme for the WBDD celebrations. The theme for this year is, “Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life”, to draw attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another and generate social ties and a united community.

The World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) is celebrated all over the world every year on June 14 to pay tribute to the voluntary blood donors who donate their blood throughout the year so that millions of lives are saved or their quality improved.

The Day also serves to encourage the healthy members of the society to come forward and donate blood voluntarily and on a regular basis. Since the last many years, the WBDD is celebrated widely in Pakistan also by the blood transfusion stakeholders and with increasing participation in collaboration with the World Health Organization.