Rwanda, Facebook partner to increase blood donations

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The Rwanda Biomedical Center has entered into a partnership with Facebook to facilitate awareness aimed at increasing blood donation in the country through awareness messages, an official said on Wednesday.

“The partnership is expected to enhance the culture of blood donation among Rwandans to ensure availability of blood in hospitals for patients,” Sabin Nsanzimana, the director general of the Rwanda Biomedical Center told reporters at a news briefing in the Rwandan capital city Kigali.

The partnership is expected to ease linking of prospective blood donors with health personnel through Facebook messages to avoid blood shortages in the country, he said.

Under the partnership, the Rwanda Biomedical Center will design awareness messages indicating dates for blood donation, venues and Facebook will send out notification messages in three languages to all Facebook account holders in Rwanda, free of charge, according to him.

Currently, blood donors in Rwanda stand at more than 47,000 up from about 25,000 three years ago, while blood hospital satisfaction stands at about 90 percent, according to information from the National Centre for Blood Transfusion released to the media after the briefing on Wednesday.

Quantities of blood in the national blood bank had gone down due to the coronavirus lockdown which barred collections from main donor groups such as students, it said.

The Facebook blood donation program is being used by more than 70 million people including in Kenya, Niger, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Niger, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan after being launched in the United States of America in 2017. 

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