Call it The Bloodline. In a country chronically short of blood, there’s a little-known cellphone helpline that could help save a life or many. It’s probably the only service of its kind in India, possibly in the world.
All it takes is an SMS. Here’s how it works: a person in need of blood sends out a text message to a special number, mentioning, in a particular format, his name, city and the blood group required. Within a few seconds, he gets a return SMS with the name and number of a donor in that city.
The system is the brainchild of Khushroo Pocha, a Grade II railway office superintendent based in Nagpur. The SMSes access his web site, http://www.indianblooddonors.com/, that has a database of 45,000 blood donors in 300 Indian towns and cities.
All the donors are voluntary. And since anyone can add their name to the donors’ list, the Bloodline is getting thicker and more effective every day. As of Wednesday, New Delhi had 1,708 donors on the site, Noida 359, Gurgaon 333, Mumbai 3,033.
Forty-year-old Khushroo started the site with his wife Fermin in 2000, drawing inspiration from a tragedy he had witnessed: the death, for want of blood, of a patient and, his own struggle for blood for a friend who desperately needed some.
“People travel to different places for treatment or surgery. They require blood. We face an acute blood shortage in India. Even if you are not a stranger in the city, you still need a lot of energy to find donors. I thought a web site could bridge this gap by listing blood donors,” Khushroo says.
(Source: Sarita Kaushik, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, April 03, 2008)