It is encouraging to learn that volunteers of social media-based blood donation groups have continued their humanitarian work during this pandemic, risking coronavirus infection. Roktodaner Opekkhay Bangladesh and Amra Roktosandhani are two such Facebook groups that along with many other digital platforms have been carrying on their lifesaving activities maintaining health guidelines. Although at the beginning of the pandemic, donors were facing difficulties in donating blood due to a lack of transportation and restrictions on movement, the situation is getting normal now. The blood donors think that there is nothing to be afraid of if proper distance and hygiene are maintained while donating blood. These platforms also suggest donors maintain personal safety through hygiene practices and avoiding unnecessary contact with anyone—the persons accompanying the donors or the patients' family members.
Milon Hossain, a 30-year-old motor mechanic from Pabna, is one of the volunteers of Roktodaner Opekkhay Bangladesh, who recently drove 35 kilometres from his village to the Pabna Sadar Hospital to donate blood to an ailing woman. Asif Ahmed is another courageous volunteer who has been managing blood donors for the group since 2017. Although Asif was discouraged from donating blood because of his physical disability of congenital hand deformity and weakness in both legs, this 20-year-old young man has proved that disability is not an inability to donate blood and has donated blood three times so far. Sajal Ahmed from another Facebook group, Amra Roktosandhani, despite his family's objection, has also donated blood to save the life of a woman whose baby died inside her womb during the pandemic.
Although many organisations have been working in the field of voluntary blood donation across the country for decades, these digital platforms have made it easier for the patients and their relatives to manage donors in recent times. The number of such groups has also increased over the years, as many young people willing to serve patients have created or joined these groups. The massive campaigns have also brought about a positive attitude towards blood donation, increasing the number of voluntary donors.
We hope these groups will get all the support they need in carrying out their activities and also hope that many amongst us will be encouraged to donate blood for critically ill patients in these trying times when people in general are still afraid of donating blood.