Uma Keni Prabhu
Mumbai: University of Mumbai is creating a unique “registry” of student blood donors. It will soon open a fully dedicated ‘call centre’ in the premises of its Lifelong Learning and Extension Department (LL&ED) to further this cause. “We will call it the ‘social call centre’,” says Dr Dilip Patil, director, LL&ED.
All the donors who have joined the “blood group registry-sharing campaign” are degree college students. Already there are 3,500 of them, and more are coming forward to join the bandwagon. They have been categorised according to their blood group and location.
Patil says, “This is for the first time in India that a university is taking such a step. We are opening a call centre in our e-learning department, where we will store and also share the database with the needy. Now help is just a phone call away.”
The department passed a resolution in a recent meeting of its Board of Advisors introducing this activity as part of its extension work project called ‘population education club’. “We are figuring out the technical details,” Patil adds.
‘Blood group registry and sharing’ is actually a brainchild of Members of Brotherhood (MOB), an NGO from Shivaji Park. “We wanted to engage students in contributing to this noble cause as they are the best and more reliable source of fresh blood,” says Amit Jathar of MOB. Now anyone with blood requirement can just call the helpline number and get access to donor’s data and, of course, blood, he adds.
Initially, MOB representatives started the drive in four city colleges - Ruparel, Maharshi Dayanand, R A Podar and Kirti. Help desks were set up in these colleges to create awareness about blood donation. Students were given consent forms, which have details like blood group, college, address, etc. The form has the University of Mumbai logo printed on it.
“More than 500 students voluntarily filled up the form,” says Sushant Pole, a MOB volunteer and NSS coordinator with 92 colleges. “To check the feasibility of the concept we even executed pilot run with Shushrusha Hospital, Dadar a few months ago. We were able to procure blood in some emergency cases through this registry.”
Dr Rekha Bhatkhande, Dean, Sushrusha Hospital, Dadar, says, “I fully endorse this noble project. It appealed to me for two aspects - youth and volunteering. They are making the effort from the heart.” Bhatkhande, who is advising MOB on this matter, is happy that the university has taken up this social cause.
“The student registry concept appealed to me,” says Patil, “because here is an opportunity to make proper utilization of blood. Earlier we used to collect (blood) randomly and had no clue as to where it went. Perhaps some private hospitals picked up the bottles. Now this is methodical. If someone from Sindhudurg district wants a rare blood group, there is no need to shift the patient to Mumbai. He will get a donor in a matter seconds with just a SMS.”