By Sara Grace C. Fojas
Where do you run when you’re running out of blood? It’s sad to think this red liquid that circulates in our arteries and veins carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide from the tissues of our body is not always available whenever someone needs it.
Blood transfusion can save lives but not everybody has timely and instant access to safe blood which has led to deaths and serious diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, the blood donation of one percent of the population every year can meet a nation’s most basic requirement for blood.
Although nationwide blood drives are annually initiated by the Philippine Red Cross and the Department of Health, there is still insufficient blood supply in the country. In 2015 alone, the country fell short and collected only 770, 000 blood units instead of the target one million blood units every year.
Addressing this problem are the junior Information Technology students from the University of San Jose-Recoletos in Cebu City with the aid of everybody’s best friend called technology.
“We all see those callouts for of blood donations on Facebook posts. So we want to eliminate this problem. According to our research, 85 percent of the population of the Philippines is eligible to donate bloods. We just have to tap to that channel to have that awareness. So we created the application Blood Seeker,” says Kirster Kyle Quinio, one of the creators of the app.
Blood Seeker is an app that connects blood donors and people who need blood made by Quinio, Alyzza Villahermosa, Harniel Salmeron, and Sept Lozada.
“It provides hassle-free blood donation process. We also integrated social networking sites in the app for an immediate response between the donor and the patient because in moments like this, every second counts,” says Quinio.
Through the mobile and web app, you can easily find a blood donor within one-kilometer radius. The donors are required to answer series of questions about their health before being allowed to donate. Patients, on the other hand, will fill up details for their request like the hospital, physician, and diagnosis.
“It’s a mobile app so you can download it. You can log in via Facebook or Gmail. There are buttons to help you like the request blood button and the donate blood button. We want to spread awareness that there is an immediate need of blood. We also include announcements of the Philippine Red Cross like the fun runs and blood letting activities,” says Quinio.
Blood Seeker is the winner of the 13th Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) Awards. With the theme “Changing Lives Through Digital Innovations,” the competition is created to provide college students the platform to create innovative applications. It is a long running collaboration between Smart and the academe to raise the standards of engineering and information technology in the country.
To help the finalists improve their projects, Smart introduced them to technical and marketing investors such as executive director of IdeaSpace Foundation Diane Estaquio and TimeFree Innovations CEO Chino Atilano. These mentors gave them advice in a special session at the Asian Institute of Management where they were taught the importance of knowing their market and their competitor.
The 1st runner up for the competition is BuyOng of Buy Online N’Go from Batangas State University that allows users to grocery shop from home. The 2nd runner up is the app Traffix created by the students from Ateneo de Manila University that allows drivers to have an optimal route for them when having multiple destinations using heuristic algorithms. Team AgriLife which aims to help Filipino farmers by connecting them to potential investors and cooperatives from Wesleyan University received a special award from Ericsson.