Seasoned donor and app creator Leow Aik Peng wants others to be better informed of blood donation drives, writes Izwan Ismail
WHILE driving home from a business appointment in Shah Alam industrial area, Leow Aik Peng’s iPhone beeps, telling him there is a blood donation drive taking place at Kompleks PKNS, about five kilometres from his current location.
The message comes from Redy, an app he and a team of developers created which provides live updates on donation drives, reminds users to attend donor sessions and informs them on the latest repository levels at various blood banks and hospitals. The app also allows users to track their blood donation statistics and information on the blood donation process.
Leow is a regular blood donor and has been doing this since 18 — the legal age to donate blood.
Redy: Social Blood Drive app, launched recently, aims to change or enhance the way blood donation drives are conducted.
“It is designed to inform the public and blood donors specifically of on-going blood donation campaigns,” says Leow.
Many, he says, are not aware of blood donation drives. “Sometimes they do not know there is a blood donation campaign in their area unless they come across banners or hears it on radio,” he says.
Leow has often been without his blood donation record card on with him as he came across a blood donation drive. That’s when he came up with the idea for the app.
“I want blood donors or potential ones to know where, when and information on the blood repository at specific hospitals and blood bank,” he says.
UP FOR A CHALLENGE
When Leow thought of the idea of creating the app last year, there was DiGi Challenge for Change aimed at inspiring Malaysians to develop innovative ideas and mobile apps that can help bring people together and make life better for local communities.
He submitted his idea to DiGi and it won one of the top seven ideas of 2,000 submissions.
His idea also won the Prime Minister’s Innovation Award for an idea which best represents the philosophy of the year’s Challenge.
The blood donation app idea was later pitched to a group of 200 local developers who would work together with Leow on the finer details.
MAKING IT BETTER
If two heads are better than one, then three should be the best. After Leow and the team of three developers completed the app, he collaborated with National Blood Bank’s pathologist Dr Norris Naim to further refine the app.
“Having input from the National Blood Bank makes it more credible,” he says.
According to Dr Norris, the app will help drive the number of people, especially the young to donate blood.
“Normally, a blood donation campaign is announced in newspapers, posters, but sometimes people forget it after a few days before,” he says.
Dr Norris says the issue with blood donation is that many people want to donate but often they do not know where and when.
In the Klang Valley, only the National Blood Bank, Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang and Universiti Malaya Medical Centre accept blood donation.
“This is where the app comes in handy as it will inform people of any blood donation drive near them in advance or when they are in the area,” says Norris.
Since most smartphone users are young adults, hopefully there will be more donors from this group.
Developer Fong Huang Yee says the Redy: Social Blood Drive app has live data from the National Blood Bank on the current blood bank status and the blood type most needed.
Other developers are Zack Tan and Shaney Chuah.
The app has a map function to show the location and details of a blood drive.
“One can also share the info on their Facebook to inform their friends,” he says.
It will also remind the donor as the date of blood donation campaign nears.
There is a code from the National Blood Bank to validate a user’s donation.