Egypt and Facebook unite for blood donation campaign to boost supplies

Egypt and Facebook unite for blood  donation campaign to boost supplies
A man shops at a market in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 12 June 2020

Egypt and Facebook unite for blood donation campaign to boost supplies

Egypt and Facebook unite for blood  donation campaign to boost supplies
  • Director of Health Ministry’s National Blood Transfusion Banks says donation a ‘national and moral’ duty

CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Health said on Thursday it is working with Facebook to encourage blood donations in the country.

Health Minister Dr. Hala Zayed confirmed that national blood transfusion centers would represent the ministry in the Facebook project.

She said that the campaign would help to encourage those who have recovered from coronavirus to donate their blood plasma to help in the treatment of critical condition patients.

Egypt has had successful trials in which coronavirus patients were injected with the blood of those who have recovered.

Anyone above the age of 18 and below the age of 65 can register on Facebook as a donor and they will receive a message from the closest blood transfusion center stating they are now a donor. The donor can also invite friends to donate their blood.

People can use the “donate blood” feature on their personal accounts or by clicking on the following link: http://www.facebook.com/donateblood.

BACKGROUND

Health Minister Dr. Hala Zayed said that the campaign would help to encourage those who have recovered from coronavirus to donate their blood plasma to help in the treatment of critical condition patients.

Those who register will receive messages on their mobiles from the 28 branches of Egypt’s blood transfusion centers regarding requests and donation opportunities. Five of the centers are allocated for blood plasma donations from those who have recovered from coronavirus. Details about the centers can be found on the official website of the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population.

Facebook posted that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the number of blood donors leading to an acute shortage of blood. People did not know where or how to donate blood, while the precautionary measures of self-isolation and social distancing were also having an impact.

Dr. Ehab Serag El-Din, director of the ministry’s National Blood Transfusion Banks, said that Facebook had activated the donation feature and that the update had come out on Wednesday.

He emphasized the importance of blood donations during this critical period and reiterated that all preventive and precautionary measures were being taken to guarantee the safety of donors. He said that such a partnership was a major step toward trying to reach the level of donations needed and the sufficient amount of blood needed to support the Egyptian health system.

He added that Luxor was the second governorate to assist those who have recovered from coronavirus to donate plasma.

“By the end of next week most of the five regional blood banks which were specifically allocated for this purpose will be receiving those who have recovered from the coronavirus,” he told Arab News. “We will not force those who have recovered to donate. However, it is their national and moral duty.”

Facebook’s public policy manager in Egypt, Nashwa Gad, said she was proud of the collaboration with the ministry. She also talked about the importance of the partnership, which comes as part of the platform’s efforts to support health authorities during the health crisis, and hailed a previous project between the ministry and Facebook to raise awareness about the virus.

She said that the donation campaign would help those who wanted to donate blood to receive all the correct health information and guidelines about the process.

Earlier this week a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said there was the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus in a number of countries. 

Maha Talat, the regional antimicrobial adviser for the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, cited Iran as an example, where infections have surged again. She said that Egypt was still in the middle of the first wave, which had not yet subsided, and that another wave might hit the country after this one.