Hyderabad: Finding a blood donor in time is not easy. It requires sifting various contacts and calling them personally to know if they are in a position to donate. Many a time there is also a flood of `forwards’ in the inbox, which do not yield any viable leads.
City-based GiveRed Foundation, a not-for-profit health technology player, has evolved a technology platform that plays the matchmaker between patients and blood and plasma donors. It amplifies the requests for blood among the enlisted donors and ensures that the blood reaches the needy.
“Blood is precious and its shortage at the country level is pegged at 2 million litres. We have to optimise the existing resources to improve its access by the needy,” says Harshini Parvatha, who co-founded GiveRed along with another founder Rohini.
GiveRed uses a chatbot on the Whatsapp platform, chosen mainly for its wide reach even in remote areas. “We built a search engine on the AWS. When we get a request for blood, our platform automatically searches for the eligible donors based on the type and location. A message is sent out to donors seeking their availability and willingness to donate blood. Similarly, a message of select donors is sent to the patients,” she said.
The tech platform vets the requests for blood against a requisition copy from the doctors. It now has about 7,000 plus blood donors and about 5,000 plasma donors in its database. It enlisted employees of select companies as well in the GiveRed Army, as the donors are called.
“Many organisations have static donor databases and the burden to reach out to donors individually is on the patients. We connect the patients and the volunteers willing to give the blood,” said Harshini adding that GiveRed impacted about 1,500 lives so far in Telangana, Vijayawada, and Bengaluru.
Many blood donation camps get B +Ve and O +ve in higher quantities. They are the common blood group types. However, the problem persists with other groups of blood.
“We feel there is a need for smart solutions and systems that predict the blood requirements. We want to work with blood banks and conduct smart blood donation drives to meet specific requirements. Some people are forced to pay to access blood. Our effort it to make it available without any cost burden for the people,” she said.
Shortage apart, there is also wastage as the collected blood in some cases is not channeled the right way. Poor storage is also a factor that affects the shelf-life of blood. “We are working with ISB to look at retrospective data to a system where we are able to actively collect the right amount of blood and right type of blood group,” she said.
“People are willing to donate blood but more education is needed. Men and women below 60 can donate if they are healthy. Pregnant should not donate blood. Also, those suffering from from anemia should not donate,” she said.
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