By Sonam Khurana
Blood can’t be produced in the factories and hence since eternity we all have been contingent on generous blood donors to meet the rising demands for blood.
Blood supplies arranged from blood donors are utilized in treating patients experiencing cancer, liver disease, hemorrhage, serious damage, iron deficiency, leukemia, severe burns and numerous different critical illnesses.
In the last decade, India has experienced concerted efforts by various public and private organizations to spread awareness regarding blood donation and encouraging citizens to come forth to donate blood regularly.
Some of the major organizations taking the initiatives are:
Rotary Blood Bank
Indian Red Cross Society
Sankalp India Foundation
Lions Blood Bank
As a result, there has been a consistent increase in blood units collected year on year. Against 9.8 million blood units collected in 2012-13, 11.45 million units of blood were collected in 2017-18.
Furthermore, there has been a significant progress in the blood storage infrastructure leading to 2760+ blood banks spread across the country.
However, despite all the aforementioned efforts and progress, India continues to struggle to meet the demand for blood units.
Against the requirement of 13.4 million blood units, only 11.45 million could be arranged in 2017-18; a significant shortfall of ~2 million blood units.
Situation is more alarming in towns beyond top 10 cities of India where blood infrastructure is broken and arranging timely blood could be a nightmare.
This problem of blood shortage has been identified by various new age startups and organizations.
These startups are leveraging the power of technology and social media to attract more donors to donate blood.
Some of the prominent startups operating in this space are Social Blood Bank, HelpDonate.in and BloodConnect.
India has always struggled to meet its blood requirements but entry of these new age startups leveraging technology and social media could be a game changer.
These organizations are harnessing the power of social media (Facebook, Twitter) for educating the donors/busting the myth around blood donation, encouraging donors to come forth for donating blood, spreading awareness around blood donation camp and helping in arranging blood units in case of emergency requirements.
The beauty of social media is that information spreads far and fast and as more and more people join the initiative, network effect start kicking in.
Furthermore, some of these startups are trying to gamify the entire process of blood donation by rewarding the good actors thereby encouraging more and more donor to come forth.
If recent traction of these organization is any indication, there is a high probability that India can leave behind its problem of deficiency of blood donor in next 5 to 10 years.
However, for this to happen, we would need participation of many more such organization with active support from the government as well as big corporates to help these new age start-ups raise funds for expansion.
Sonam Khurana is the Founder at Helpdonate.in