gurvinder singh  
KOLKATA, 13 JUNE: The state government is all set to launch an e-blood bank service, a web-enabled system, by which blood would be available practically at the click of a mouse.
People in need of blood would just have to log on to a website or make a call to trace the blood bank where the particular group of blood is available. "The life saving commodity is normally required during emergencies, and many a times people have to run from one blood bank to another in search of the specific blood group which often results in wastage of time that could be crucial to the patient’s life," said a senior official of Swastya Bhawan. 
"The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) have already granted funds of Rs 5 crore for the new facility. The tender to design the software has already been floated to a state-run IT company kick-start the service in the ongoing year,” he added.
Sources said that 58 state government blood banks would be linked in the initial phase before including all 108 blood banks in the state. 
Similarly, the facility would be first accessed through Internet and land line phones before connecting it with cell phones. 
Under the new service, bar-coding of blood bags will be done to ensure blood collected first is used first in 100 per cent cases. 
Health officials said the new facility would also help to crack a whip on the agents involved in the black marketing of blood. "The e-blood bank first launched in Odisha in December 2011 has met with considerable success with thousands of people benefiting from it," said Mr Mangala Prasad Mohanty, secretary of Indian Red Cross Society of Odisha, when contacted over phone.
He said that the success story in Odisha has inspired the Centre to replicate the model in other states through NRHM. 
Meanwhile, the state health department officials have claimed the media campaigns have been successful in creating awareness on blood donation.
"We have collected 9 lakh unit of blood against the target of  8 lakh unit during the last financial year and this year we plan to scale up the target," said a health official.
The officials at Central Blood Bank admitted of being overloaded with request for holding blood donation camps,
"A blood donation camp has become a craze with people organising it in every social event, even during marriages," said Mr SN Guchawat, director of Central Blood bank.
He claimed of receiving over 50 requisition for blood donation camp every month but cited staff shortage, among other reasons, as bottleneck in obliging all the requisitions.