|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 72
WhatsApp: A new tool for recruitment and retention of voluntary blood donors
Umakanth Siromani1, Thankamony Thasian2, Rita Isaac2, Kurusilappattu Gurupachai Selvaraj2, Dolly Daniel1, Joy John Mammen1, Sukesh Chandra Nair1
1 Department of Transfusion Medicine and Immunohaematology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Web Publication||23-Jun-2015|
Dr. Umakanth Siromani
John Scudder Memorial Blood Bank, Department of Transfusion Medicine and Immunohaematology, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Siromani U, Thasian T, Isaac R, Selvaraj KG, Daniel D, Mammen JJ, Nair SC. WhatsApp: A new tool for recruitment and retention of voluntary blood donors. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2015;2:72
|How to cite this URL:|
Siromani U, Thasian T, Isaac R, Selvaraj KG, Daniel D, Mammen JJ, Nair SC. WhatsApp: A new tool for recruitment and retention of voluntary blood donors. Int J Adv Med Health Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2018 Jan 23];2:72. Available from: http://www.ijamhrjournal.org/text.asp?2015/2/1/72/159176
New technologies play an increasing role in a modern life, as there are many improvements in information technology that allows us to adopt newer technologies in our day to day activities. WhatsApp is a piece software that already has been actively used for many purposes. WhatsApp Inc. was found in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum.  The use of smartphones grabs the attention of many in healthcare day by day.  The WhatsApp instant messaging service is hugely popular with smartphone users; it has an enormous market reach, especially among the younger generation. This app can swap text messages, exchange photos, videos and even voice notes (short sound clips recorded into a microphone on the smartphone). A very valuable consideration regarding WhatsApp is that messages are free to send and receive, provided an internet connection is available. This is an effective method for clinical and academic uses. 
The voluntary blood donor population is smaller in India, compared to developed countries. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 1% of the population is generally sufficient to meet a country's basic requirements.  Myths and misconceptions are common among people, and mitigating measures should be taken to overcome these perceptions. Recruitment of new blood donors and retention of them should be a main target of blood banks and many tailor-made strategies are being adopted to meet their need for blood and blood products. 
The majority of the blood donation programmes have used strategies based on outbound telephone calls and personal appeals. SMS, E-mails, websites, and social media are faster and are highly appropriate tools to convey the information that will motivate blood donors on a mass scale.  By contrast, telephone calls and sending bulk E-mail are costly and time-consuming. Texting through WhatsApp is an appropriate strategy to convey messages regarding voluntary blood donation, it can also transmit awareness videos and voice notes to the blood donors in emergencies. The blood bank personnel can register the name and contacts of participants during awareness campaigns and add those contacts as a new WhatsApp group with any specialized title or name.
For example: WhatsApp contact groups could be formed with rare (all Rh negative); the rarest (Bombay Rh positive and negative) and all regular Rh positive blood donors and whenever the need arises they can be contacted for speedy blood donation. Frequent texts, awareness videos and voice notes can be sent to them, also communicating the venues and times of outdoor camps' schedule. This can help to motivate and recruit more blood donors, and it may encourage them to donate in the blood bank or in blood donation drives. Thank-you messages and reminders of the next donation date can also be sent by the same channel. Therefore, WhatsApp can be actively used by blood bank personnel and blood donation camp organizers in recruiting new blood donors and retaining their interest in successful future blood donation campaigns.
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