Fewer people are turning up to donate blood around the world and Sweden is turning to technology to turn back this trend. An innovative initiative by the authorities let the donors know that their blood is being used. The blood donors receive a message thanking them when they donate blood but now, they also get to know when their blood is given to someone.
This helps to strengthen the importance of the donor by bringing them into the process. This gives the donor feedback on the initiative they have taken to help a fellow citizen. It informs and encourages donors to return for a repeat donation.
This policy has been much appreciated over social media. People have now started to discuss blood donation. This personal touch feels good as it lets you know that you have made a difference in someone’s life, perhaps even saved one.
The simple SMS service has given the blood banks much more visibility and publicity on social media than ever before. Many donors are now encouraged to come back time and again.
The program was initiated in Stockholm about 3 years ago but has gradually been followed by blood banks in other parts of the country after a tremendous reception.
Britain and many other western countries had seen a rapid decline in the number of people lining up to voluntarily donate blood, though the figures have improved considerably in 2018 and 2019. The NHS is looking for ways to augment the supply of blood and has used online campaigns to make people aware of the shortfall. The letter ‘A’ and ‘O’ were removed from every shop and street signs as an instant way to let people know that these two groups on National Blood Donation Week. There are also initiatives worldwide to let people know about the essentials of blood donation.
There has been a fall in the total number of blood donors in a worldwide trend, says assistant director Jon Latham of NHS donor services. The present stock is sufficient for current needs but Latham is worried about the future. There is an urgent need to widen the blood donor base and ensure that donors come in repeatedly.
The authorities at Sweden had faced such problems but they have conveyed the shortfall to the public and informed them about the accurate levels of stock present with them. A visit to the blood bank website in their area informs residents of the exact blood and they can see an updated chart. This will spur residents to take the initiative when they see stocks running low.
The importance of social media has been stressed by communication manager Lottie Furugard at the Stockholm blood center.
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There are other initiatives including one that allows the blood bank to aggressively remind donors about the need for blood. Such donors are required to sign a contract beforehand. The language of the reminders in a lighter vein and include messages like “We won’t give up until you bleed.”
The approach of each blood bank has been different but the overall message is quite simple. The purpose is to inform the blood donors of the value of their contribution and also to widen the base and bring in more fresh donors under their ambit.
UK Blood donors can register at www.blood.co.uk