An online blood bank on Facebook.. Didn’t think it was possible? Think again. Last week, Online Blood Bank, the latest initiative on Facebook by Meka PARC (Practical Applications Research Centre), commenced operations online.
The blood bank, a first of its kind by an Indian firm on Facebook, has been created in partnership with the Revive Bombay Trust to serve as an information resource in case of blood related emergencies.
So how does it work? Simple. Upon logging on the Facebook application, users can create blood buddies by simply registering. This way, one shares one’s blood group and can see the blood group of all friends on the Facebook network by typing the blood group and city option. In case of an emergency, where a certain type of blood group is needed, this option can be utilised and help will be available within a short span of time.
Thus, via this application, one gains easy access to one’s own friends circle in times of emergencies. The site has already registered approximately 500 monthly active users and has 296 fans.
Hemant Meka Rao, director, MekaCorp, says, “Millions are now on social networking sites as a means of connecting. We created this application so that it can use that togetherness for a good and useful cause, and reach out to millions around the world in their hour of need.”
Interestingly, an older version of this application exists as well. The Revive Bombay Trust started it a few years earlier by having members give their blood groups to a database that could be accessed in an emergency. However, the reach was limited only to the members of the trust.
On Facebook, the application is a plethora of information with a diverse mix of topics like basics of blood use, blood and plasma compatibility tables, FAQs on blood donation and information on who can and can’t donate blood.
It also provides statistics on the percentage and ratio of blood groups. It gives users the facility of finding donors outside their friend network by making their information public via news update (optional). One can also invite non-Facebook users to register and add them to the network.
Rao says, “People who have logged on to it, love it! But as with so many Facebook applications, the good get mixed with the useless and lots of people are yet to add it. Therefore, the more that login and try it, the more lives can be saved.”
He adds that if the Online Blood Bank does well, the proceeds will be used to kick off a few other initiatives: “We hope to create a consumer help website that will help consumers with their grievances as well as Facebook applications for defence,
for cleaner energy, for leisure, all of which are under development currently.”
Tulsian Shah, a member, says, “I remember looking at the logo.. It looked scary. After all, blood is a morbid topic. But I would rather register here than have to search for blood buddies at 2 am, on Mumbai roads, in an emergency.”
Vijaya Karnik has already signed up and boasts of 20 blood buddies. She says, “It is better to be prepared and when such an option is available, why not make the most of it.”