The New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) has partnered with Facebook to notify donors of nearby opportunities to give blood and plasma during a challenging time of the year for the service.
The Blood Donations feature, launched in Aotearoa today, is designed to help the NZBS collect the more than 4000 blood and plasma services it needs every week to meet demands.
"Every 18 minutes in New Zealand someone will experience an 'unseen emergency' and need lifesaving blood and plasma," Asuka Burge, national marketing and communications manager at NZBS said.
"That's about 30,000 Kiwis every year whose lives are saved and improved by blood and plasma donors."
During the New Zealand summer, around 7600 people across the country will need access to donations.
"We know one barrier is often knowing where and how to donate, so we are calling on all eligible Kiwis, no matter where in New Zealand they're enjoying their summer holiday break, to sign up," Burge said.
It's estimated that in the week leading up to Christmas alone, 585 people in Aotearoa will need lifesaving blood or plasma, but with only four percent of the eligible population donating that can lead to supply issues.
With the new feature, users between the ages of 18 and 65 can receive notifications about opportunities to donate at local donation centres and even link directly to the appointment website to schedule a donation.
The Blood Donations feature has been used overseas since 2017 with more than 100 million Facebook users signing up.
"We are proud to support NZ Blood's vital work in helping encourage Kiwis to give blood, especially at a time when its donation targets continue to grow and it needs more donors than ever before to ensure it can continue to meet demand," Nick McDonnell, head of public policy for Meta New Zealand and Pacific Islands said.
"During the COVID-19 crisis, we've seen many Kiwis come together on Facebook to help each other. This product launching today is another way New Zealanders can come together and use our services to learn about how and where they can donate blood."
Users can access Blood Donations in the About section of their Facebook profile. When donors are needed, notifications will be sent to those nearby who have signed up.