Wednesday, July 31, 2013


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The Next Big Thing :: Solving the World's Blood Crisis

Image source - Flickr (Creative Commons Licensed)
What do you believe is the most dreadful sound that you can ever hear on a City Road?
Yes, the Siren of An Ambulance !

It Was October 2006, when something went horribly wrong during my Mother's operation resulting in severe blood loss from her body. One of the Nurses came out of the Operation Theater and asked us to arrange for Blood - Blood Group A (negative).

A (negative) is one of the rare blood types. I and my friends scrounged around different Blood Banks in the City and were some how able to get "Three Bottles of Life" for my Mother. 

But her condition continued deteriorating and she went in Coma the next day. More demands for blood started coming from the doctor. But, imagine the situation when the reply from all Blood Banks were - "Sorry no A (negative) Blood available".

The Power of Friends of...

No one in my close family or friends were A (negative) blood types. So, a request (on a small scale, mostly personal contact via telephone calls) was sent out in the society - family friends, friends of family friends, friends of friends of friends...

Within the next three days, the power of connections helped my Mother with "11 more Donors of A(negative) Blood" . Thanks to those 14 'Life savers' (including 3 anonymous donors to the blood bank), my Mother survived and 29 days later she came out of her coma.
The joint Power of "traditional Blood Banks" and "friends of friends (Networking)" brought those 14 perfect Strangers to do the greatest deed  - "Save a Life".

The above incident clearly shows the Power of Networking in connecting Blood Donors and Recipients. Doing a simple maths networking was able to provide 4 times as much blood as the traditional blood bank system did. 

SOCIAL BLOOD founded by Karthik Naralasetty in 2011, thrives on this amazing power of social networking that can connect prospective Blood Donors and Patients of the same blood type using Facebook's vast network as the underlying platform.

Here is a video of his riveting talk on SocialBlood at TEDxGateway Mumbai (December 2012).

 For my generation, Facebook is the most powerful thing on the planet. India is a country where 50 percent of the Internet population is on Facebook every other day, so I saw potential to reach them directly and make it fun and easy to act - Karthik Naralasetty (Founder, SocialBlood)

The Future

In this Internet generation where a lot of things are getting virtual, SocialBlood is also like a 'Virtual Blood Bank' with an assumption that the world is full with people who would happily give a little amount of blood to a person in need. SocialBlood has the potential to give that much needed Gentle push that most of us require before doing any good deed.

BUT How will the 'Real Blood Banks' fit in this new system ?

What do we do when we require blood ? We search around in a specific sequence - first to nearby Blood Banks then to our family, friends and their networks. In most cases we waste 'crucial life saving moments' driving around blood banks in our city.

We can't just rule out the existence of real Blood Banks by designing any hi-tech virtual world. They will always be there to collect, store and preserve precious blood for transfusion.

So, to take SocialBlood to the next level, the greatest challenge will be to gain trust and cooperation of  Blood Banks and then incorporate them in this system. They might register just like any other individual but without any specific blood type. If a requested blood type is available in their banks they can also respond to those blood requests. The system will thus be more rewarding, fast and complete.

How to Improve Participation ?
The first step should be to gain more and more individuals register in the SocialBlood system to increase the 'Donor Base'. Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter will again help us here.

Donating Blood is a noble deed and should not be done for any Rewards in mind... but Recognition never hurts, in fact its a great motivation booster for themselves and the other prospective donors. The recognition may be in the form of  a list of "Top Donors on SocialBlood".

Adding a Directory of Success Stories matching patients with their respective Blood donors who helped him/her would also be a wonderful motivating step. But people who like to remain anonymous for their donations should also be respected.

What can We Do ?

Fueled by the 'Power of Compassion' and Aim of 'Saving Lives' support SocialBlood in become the Next Big thing for solving the  Blood crisis on a larger scale, because Powerful Ideas of Today are the true investments of a better Tomorrow.

The Power of ONE, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the Power of many working together is better - Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

This Post is written by Shahzad Ashraf for Idea Caravan Contest by Franklin Templeton Investments (partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012) in Indiblogger.

1 comment:

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