Social media and the lack of information for blood donation

(John Benitez, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Lorenna Nogueira Pacheco, a doctor who has just experienced of graduating during the coronavirus pandemic at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás (PUC-Goiás), Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

At this new millennium how people access and share data has had an enormous change, much of it is user-generated content found on social media. But people do not view social media as a useful source of health information; those with self-perceived poor health are most likely to share health information. In addition to spread the importance of sharing secure health information there is another reasonable way to help saving lives by mobile technology.¹, 2

According to the Health Ministry of Brazil only 16 (sixteen) in each 1000 (a hundred) people donates blood, that is 1,6% of the Brazilian population. Around 61% of those donations are from spontaneous donation and the 39% are from replacement donation, enlarging this scale in Latin America and Caribe less of 50% are from spontaneous donation. OMS recommends that 100% of the donations should be spontaneous, so for reach this target the use of social medias would be very important, because it will reach people in other way like “tell them seven ways and seven times”.³

So a very simple way to improve blood donation is to enlarge the information and the use of that to connect donators and receptor. The global average social media uses is 45% worldwide which represents 3.725 billion people worldwide and the main reason some countries use more social media than others is related to the economy of that country, the lowest social media diffusion are usually in developing countries.4

The most people who donate blood say that the most important incentive is the human solidarity. To effortless improve this user information in favor of health is at subscripting at any of social media, the type of blood could be requested like age, gender, city and e-mail, and according to the terms be a public info. And a pin could be added and have an option of turn it “on” or “off” if someone needs blood transfusion of that same type of you. This way a message, or an ad, will be send to everyone connected to you on that platform that is compatible with your inquire.  Connected donator and receptor the platform leaves a notification for both of them and already send a questionnaire to the donator know if he/she is able to make it.5

If the information is public and the legislation of the country enables connecting blood centre and patients and donor, an advertisement of those institutes with low blood stock could appear for those who live in the same city or nearby that place alerting them. All of this will help a lot saving lives using mobile technology and reducing the risks of low blood stock.

  1. Lima, M. “As pessoas sabem que é importante doar sangue, mas não doam”. Redação Observatório 3º Setor. 2019.
  2. Gagnon, K.; Sabus, C. Professionalism in a Digital Age: Opportunities and Considerations for Using Social Media in Health Care. Physical Therapy. 2015; 95(3): 406-414.
  3. Alanzi, T.; Alsaeed, B. Use of Social Media in the Blood Donation Process in Saudi Arabia. J Blood Med. 2019; 10: 417-423.
  4. Hausmann, J. S. et al. Adolescent and Young Adult Use of Social Media for Health and Its Implications. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2017; 60(6): 714-719.
  5. Zhang, X.; Wen, D.; Liang, J.; Lei, J. How the public uses social media wechat to obtain health information in China: a survey study. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2017; 66.

About the author

Lorenna Nogueira Pacheco, a doctor that has just experienced of graduating during the coronavirus pandemic at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás (PUC-Goiás), Brazil. Currently works in an online volunteer work helping people to be assisted by telemedicine to avoid hospital overcrowding during the global covid-19 pandemic.

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