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Finding blood donors has always proven to be a tedious task with many calling on relatives and friends to rush and donate during emergencies.
However, this could be a thing of the past should a new mobile app developed in Mombasa take off.
The vast majority of blood types fall into one of the major blood groups. However, for patients with rare blood types or those who receive regular blood transfusions, blood must be matched closely — beyond the primary A, B, O and AB blood types — to reduce the risk of developing complications from transfusion therapy.
The new app that helps users identify the nearest donor and facilitate the donation is called Redsplash is currently on Google playstore.
Redsplash Chairperson Abdulrehman Alwy said the app makes it possible for donors to find the nearest blood bank or a blood donation camp. “We create awareness and register voluntary donors, receive blood appeals and send donors to donate as well as organise mobile blood drives with the blood bank,” he said.
He added that the app aims to create a pool of voluntary regular donors who are conveniently accessible at all times.
Alwy said while most of the previous systems that failed to have an impact focused on managing the blood supply chain, Redsplash shifted focus from the blood to the donors.
“The app is to regularly engage, educate and also convert donors to activists who mobilise other donors,” he said.
He added that the unique feature added to the app is the ideal donor algorithm. “For emergency hospital appeals, the app ranks the donor with highest probability to donate based on their motivation, convenience and previous experience,” he said.
The app is timely and it comes at a time when the Health ministry has admitted to shortage of blood despite the fact that every 10 minutes, about seven Kenyans need blood and are at the risk of dying.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki last month said the country needed about 1,000,000 units of blood annually, but only 164,275 units were collected last year by the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service.
The challenge coming as the government mulls implementing a monthly routine blood drive in an effort to boost the country’s blood stocks.