Launched on January 6, the Maharashtra government's blood-on-call service has proved to be a success. The phone number 104 for the service has seen nearly 7,000 calls from across the state since its inception, and 4,750 blood bags have been dispatched.
Officials said that unlike the 108 helpline number for ambulances, which receives many irrelevant calls from confused citizens and even prank calls, the 104 service has largely been free of the nuisance. Out of the 7,000 calls received from all over the state, a senior official from the State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) said, most of them haven’t been for emergency cases but for reservation of blood bags before surgeries or treatment.
“These include procedures like caesarean deliveries and other surgeries for which a requirement for blood could arise. In such cases, we connect the callers to a blood bank close to them, where the arrangements can be made,” said the official.
The blood-on-call service uses motorcycles fitted with iceboxes to transport the blood bags and SBTC officials say they have been able to deliver them to hospitals within an hour. As of now, each district across Maharashtra has three riders.
“We are in the process of establishing nine blood storage units across Mumbai so blood can be delivered faster. The district blood bank will coordinate with a nearby storage unit, after which the rider will be sent for delivery,” the official added.
“We have delivered blood bags to 190 hospitals and nursing homes in Mumbai so far. When the service was launched, we received many calls to inquire about it, but callers are more aware now and we have no received any prank calls or irrelevant calls,” said the official.
The average number of calls the 104 service receives each day