Aiming to create more awareness and bridge the demand-supply gap for blood units in India, Twitter India on 20 March launched a new social initiative called #BloodMatters.
According to a report by the World Health Organisation, only nine million blood units are available annually in India, against a demand of 12 million units.
Blood Donors India (@BloodDonorsIN), a voluntary blood donation helpline on Twitter, is the first partner for the Twitter initiative.
Though this initiative, Twitter said it seeks to work with more blood donation helplines like @BloodDonorsIN, blood banks, and health institutions across the country to connect and reach a larger audience.
"The platform aims to scale up the volume of blood donation conversation in India, the number of donors, and work with partners that can ensure safe, screened blood can reach those in need in time across India," Twitter India said in a statement.
With this initiative, people can request for blood donation simply with a tweet to @BloodDonorsIN with their location hashtag, blood type, mobile contact and Twitter handle.
People interested to help can follow @BloodDonorsIN and respond or retweet requests for help.
Responding to the initiative in a tweet, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: "I am happy to see Twitter take up this cause to strengthen the overall health and well-being of the country with the #BloodMatters initiative. This will play a powerful role in mobilising resources and strengthening the blood donation drive in India."
With the new initiative, launched ahead of its 12th birth anniversary on 21 March, Twitter is expanding the reach of the @BloodDonorsIN helpline through Twitter Lite, which provides more data-friendly access to real-time information exchange on blood donations across India.
Twitter will be supporting the implementation of an automated response solution to scale the operations of @BloodDonorsIN, currently run by a group of volunteers.
Twitter said it will also amplify the real-time communication efforts of the handle with verification, promotion on Twitter, and use Twitter Lite to connect the helpline with people across the entire country, from the metros to rural India.
"Giving back has been a priority for Twitter since its inception and we believe the open exchange of information can be a compelling force for good in the world. #BloodMatters is a step in that direction," Mahima Kaul, Head Public Policy, Twitter India, said in a statement.
"We are humbled to kickstart the initiative with @BloodDonorsIN, a handle that symbolises our mission of positively impacting the world by harnessing the real-time power of Twitter and hope to make a larger impact by extending its reach through Twitter Lite," Kaul added.