Indian Blood Donors, a unique SMS-based helpline, connects voluntary blood donors with patients through use of the most accessible ICT tool in India.
In India, recurrent instances of road accidents and bomb blasts combined with a high maternal mortality rate escalates the need for blood in health care services. However, the insufficient number of government and private blood banks, and high prices of blood units prompt the need for an easily accessible yet cost effective channel of donor procurement.
To address these concerns, Indian Blood Donors (IBD) introduced an initiative to create a network of registered voluntary donors willing to provide blood to patient’s. Initially, IBD was a completely web-based project that recorded information of blood donors online at http://www.indianblooddonors.com/default.asp. Subsequently,the concern of accessibility inspired launch of SMS Now project. It was established that in a country with 791.38 million mobile phone users against 81 million internet users the SMS feature stands as the best option to maximise the level of penetration.
With the help of a simple SMS, the donors register themselves with IBD and their information is saved in the database. Later, when a patient sends a request for blood through an SMS, the server automatically triggers a message with relevant details of nearest donor. Simultaneously, the donor is informed about the blood requirement through automatic SMS.
The major achievements of the project include its innovative use of a mobile phone, creation of a pool of voluntary donors, free service, and sharing burden of blood banks across India.