This teenager is using WhatsApp to save lives through blood donation drives
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), blood banks in India face a staggering shortfall of three million units each year. Loss of life due to this is rampant, as experienced by Chethan M Gowda, who was only 14-years-old when his teacher died because of the unavailability of blood on time.
The reason for the non-availability of blood, Chethan discovered, was the lack of a proper network between donors and recipients.
Following this loss, he founded Khoon in 2016, an NGO under Jaanavi Social Welfare Foundation, to collaborate with multiple hospitals and blood banks across India to help patients in need.
“We work in the blood donation arena to ensure that no life is lost due to the scarcity of blood – which is available in abundance,” says Chethan.
Khoon has collaborated with multiple hospitals and blood banks to help in the entire procedure – from drawing donor blood to testing and reporting of the blood status. Based in Bangalore, the 60-member team has organised 35 blood donation camps in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and Assam.
Technology to their aid
One of the biggest challenges that Khoon faced was communication between the families of donors and patients. To fix this hurdle, the team began using the WhatsApp Business app to solve and can now communicate both internally with members and externally with donors/recipients.
“We’ve had recipients reach out to us over WhatsApp to express their gratitude and share the progress of their recovery,” says Charu Agarwal, President, Guwahati Chapter of Khoon.
It also uses the app to send messages to donors and spread on-ground awareness about ongoing and future camps.
According to the team, the Labels feature in WhatsApp is particularly useful in organising and finding past chats. With significant growth since inception, its customer service scores have doubled since it began using the app.
Encouraging youngsters to support the cause
Khoon has also pioneered the idea of theme-based blood donation camps to attract youth towards blood donation, thereby enabling a connection between blood donation and youngsters.
So far, they have conducted four theme-based donation camps in the field of music, stand-up comedy, love, and freedom.
At present, Khoon has around 87K+ voluntary donors registered across India and has been able to impact 100K+ people across the country. While Chethan, the founder, continues to scale this initiative, he is also studying engineering.
However, he wants to pursue a master’s in Social Work to enable his dream of serving the underprivileged better.