The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) is celebrating World Blood Donor Day with various other countries on 14 June. This celebration serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, as well as thank donors for their remarkable life-saving gift.
The focus of 2017’s World Blood Donor Day is blood donation in emergencies. In crises or emergency situations, the immediate response is “What can I do?”. Therefore the secondary message of the campaign is to “Give blood. Give now. Give often.”. This underlines the role every person plays in assisting during an emergency situation, as well as the fact that regular blood donation is important.
That is why WPBTS is taking this opportunity to launch its very own App. This app allows donors to easily find their nearest clinic and indicates which blood groups are urgently needed. It is the first app of its kind in South Africa.
Statistics reveal that less than 1.5% of the Western Cape population regularly donates blood, while up to 75% of people in the province will require blood at some point in their lives. New, regular donors are always needed. Therefore a system needed to be put in place to make locating a blood donor clinic easier.
The solution, borne through a partnership between WPBTS, NXT Digital Innovation and Tracker, was the creation of the WP Blood APP, that provides registered users with real time information on blood levels in their locality and directs them to the relevant blood clinic.
The app uses user profiles to inform donors when their blood type is in short supply and directs them to the nearest mobile or static blood donation points.
The app also tracks the users’ donation pattern and empowers the users to inform friends and family of any shortages and encourage them to donate.
“The WP Blood APP is the first app of its kind in South Africa, so we are very excited about this new development and its life-saving potential,” says Marlize van der Merwe, WPBTS Spokesperson. “It will make locating a clinic easier for our donors and the app enables us to communicate to our donors on another platform.”
“The launch of this important app could not be more timeous, considering that winter is when we typically see a significant drop in blood donations.”
WP Blood is available for free download on iOS and Android app stores:
Apple Store http://apple.co/2sTf4Dm
Play Store http://bit.ly/2rRB6Yy
While donors from all blood groups and communities are important, there is a particular need for donors with blood types O to donate regularly as stocks of these are more vulnerable to shortfalls. There is also a need for more black African people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.
For more information, SMS “Blood” to 33507 and WPBTS will call you back with information on where to donate. Donors can also call (021) 507 6300, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wpblood.org.za. Like us on Facebook (WP Blood) or follow us on Twitter (@WPBlood) and/ or Instagram (WP_Blood) for interesting facts and blood stock updates.