Blood donation has faced a long awareness road in countries like Mexico. The NHS sums up the importance of donations in one idea: giving blood saves lives. Through the donation of blood, one is contributing to society with long-term treatments or with the means to treat cases of severe emergency.
Despite its obvious importance, Mexico is one of the lowest-ranking countries in terms of altruist blood donation. According to César Esquivel, Co-Founder of the digital platform Blooders, “most donations come from a relative or a friend. Finding the right person to match the necessary type of blood and making sure the person meets the donation requirements can take too long.” Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, blood donation in Mexico dropped by 70 percent, according to the National Center for Blood Transfusion (CNTS).
Esquivel explains that to incentivize blood donation in the country, it is very important to provide the right tools for the donor, so their experience is positive and therefore, they can reach more people with positive information. Moreover, while monetary invectives for donation might exist, the goal is to foment altruist blood donation to have complete blood bank systems.
Ernesto Algaba, Life Sciences expert of Hogan Lovells, explained that “having a proper, more flexible regulatory framework that helps to incentivize donation and ensures the safety of the donor is also important. Incentives do not necessarily have to be monetary; there are other possibilities such as remuneration in the form of access to other services.”
Digitalization plays an important role in this process. Blooders uses technology to create a positive experience for donors but also, to make blood bank systems more efficient and enable them to have a much more controlled and clear access to the blood data.
Today, Facebook announced a collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the CNTS to create a digital tool within the social media platform called Donaciones de Sangre, which will allow blood banks and health facilities to connect with users interested in donating. According to their announcement, this will ensure safe donations and will help ramp up donations’ plummeting numbers. Through this solution, users can register their name and if a bank or facility require the donation, they can easily select the user that fits the needed profile.
Are these initiatives enough? Just as Blooders founders said during their interview with MBN, education is a must. “Blooders is beginning to introduce an educational donation program in elementary and secondary schools, which we think is the best age to introduce the subject. We are collaborating with the International Society of Blood Transfusion to research and measure the availability of future donors. We want to conduct a test to understand children’s knowledge of blood donation.”
Besides, there are other benefits. “A culture of donation could later result in donations for research, which would be very valuable and it could help the health sector develop and grow in different areas, such as medicine or regenerative therapy development,” Cecilia Stahlhut, Life Sciences expert from Hogan Lovells explained.