The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS), in conjunction with NXT Digital Innovation and Tracker, has launched an app called WP Blood to increase participation in blood donation.
The app gives donors immediate access to information about their nearest clinic and indicates which blood groups are urgently needed.
NXT CEO, Wayne Levine, says the company started working with WPBTS in 2014. “We get brands to motivate why they need an innovation kick or what we call an extreme digital makeover. WPBTS’ argument for an extreme digital makeover was highly compelling: less than 1.5% of people in the Western Cape are regular blood donors and up to 75% of people in the province will require blood at some point in their lives.”
“In addition to this, the Western Cape is a popular holiday venue, which means an increase in road accidents and even more demand for blood. Since the launch of the WP Blood app, we have seen 4,728 android app downloads and 1,636 Apple app downloads. That’s a total of 6,364 downloads in 16 days.”
NXT chief innovations officer (CIO), David Oosthuizen, says donating blood should be regarded as a ‘pay it forward’ gesture. “Since the launch of the app on the 14 June 2017, we have seen an increase of 780 new donors in just under a month’s time.”
He says most people today have smartphones. “We have these phenomenal devices in our pockets, and the barrier to entry for people in South Africa to own them is declining fast.”
“This means a large percentage of the population can have access to the WPBTS geo-location app, which displays blood levels in real time and is able to direct donors to the relevant blood clinics.”
In addition, by integrating the technology with user profiles, app users are able to tell if their type of blood is needed and where mobile and static blood donation points are located daily. The app also keeps track of the time since a donor made his or her last donation, or alternatively, gives the donor a platform to inform friends and family of the shortage.
Oosthuizen says donors will be able to discover if their nearest blood donation venue is open. “If a unit is displayed in grey, it is closed, when it is red, it’s open. WPBTS will also be able to send out alerts for special events such as World Blood Donor Day or other seasonal campaigns, as well as personal alerts to remind people to donate. Further, it will allow mobile units in a particular area to send alerts to blood donors.
“The app incorporates a storytelling element and FAQ section. The storytelling element includes real peoples’ testimonials about how a blood donation has helped them. This is so important for creating awareness, especially amongst young people, who tend to think they are invulnerable and therefore don’t need to donate,” says Oosthuizen.
WP Blood is available for free download on iOS and Android app stores.
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, email or visit www.wpblood.org.za.
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