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SOS is now SMS

There are over 220 million mobile phone users in India. India needs 8 million liters of blood a year. Any way to bring these two numbers to work together to help people?

Carmela Ferraro writes in this edition (pdf file) of the Guardian Weekly on ‘How Text Messages are saving lives in India’.

Carmela talks about an organization called The Indian Blood Donors:

Indian Blood Donors, which operates throughout the country free of charge, links patients who need blood with those willing to donate it locally. So far 45,000 donors have registered.

It was the brainchild of a civil servant, Khushroo Poacha, 40, from Nagpur, Maharashtra, who works for Indian Railways. He explained: “In India, because there are shortages, especially for rare blood types, patients are often asked to find their own blood. This isn’t easy for anyone. But it’s especially hard for those people who come from villages, far away from main centres, and don’t know how to get around.

And how does the process work?

Using the bloodline is simple. When someone needs blood, they send a text message to 5676775 in a specific format . Within seconds, they will get a donor’s name, blood group and contact details. The process then triggers an SMS to the donor with the contact details of the patient, and the donor and the recipient organise the blood donation between themselves. If the donor for whatever reason is unable to help, the patient or their family continue sending SMS messages to other donors on the list.

You can download and read the complete article here (pdf file).

Credit: Link provided by Sunandini Basu.

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