It started on 23rd May, 2005 when few Sankalp Volunteers dreamt of how to better the present blood donation scenario. Few questions arose: If somehow the blood banks were transparent enough to show their blood statistics. How nice it would be if we had a single number which would cater to all blood requirements in Bangalore.
We dreamt for connecting blood banks. We thought about having a common point access to all available blood. We looked for a future where a person would make a single call and get the blood he wants. We dreamt of providing a DISHA to the helpless.
Two years back when we started work with Disha, it was a huge challenge. But work did start. We explored all possibilities from IVRS to a SMS based network. Finally we found someone who worked in the same direction as we did-Comprehensive Trauma Consortium better known as Operation Sanjeevini, which provides free ambulance services to all accident related victims. On 13th September, 2006 Project CTC Disha was launched by the Governor of Karnataka. Now the life saving 1062 also provides blood information.
Five major blood banks in Bangalore associated with us in our initiative Ramaiah, Rashtrothana,Rotory, Sagar Apollo and Manipal. CTC provides toll free helpline call center via 1062 which assists people requiring blood to the blood bank where it is available. Also, it provides them every information required like address and contact details.
Initial Phase: We started collecting statistics from the blood banks and posted them on to the site maintained by CTC on a regular basis. Initial hiccups came when the blood bank didnt want to share their information with us. There were communication problems which existed as we are a small organization trying to make things better. However after the official inauguration by the governor of the state, everything became smooth.
Somewhere in the middle of October, we realized that inspite of great media coverage, there was very poor response to CTC Disha. Hence on 11th Nov, 2006 we conducted a march, "WALK FOR LIFE" in order to promote 1062. 42 kms, 15 hrs, 40 students- one message "Need Blood Call 1062". Problems came, the CTC site crashed several times leading to frustration. There were problems of net not working in CTC. The response time per call, reliability and stability became critical. We came up with setting up a FTP server which too didnt bring in the desired results.
Second Phase: We wanted CTC to automate the whole process. All calls to the blood banks are made by CTC. At this stage CTC site crashed. It was the time we saw the wheels of time going back. From an interactive website, we shifted to simple functioning FTP server. Even that didnt work. Finally we asked them to maintain plain paperwork to take updates. Simplicity clicks. There was a marked improvement in the response time from CTC in handling cases.
At this stage, CTC Disha is pretty much stable and working. Anytime you make a call to 1062, there is a definite chance that your query will be answered.
Somehow, after all this, considering the no. of blood cases Bangalore gets and the no. of cases received by Disha, there still is a lot to improve. One reason we see for this is citizen participation. We want to make Disha a phenomenon in Blood banking system and it is only you who can help us make that happen. I request all of you to please spread this number, if not please store it. Someday, someone will require blood. It will be you who will be saying-Call 1062. People who mail can send "Need blood call 1062" as their signature, you can even put it as your status message during a chat. You can put Disha posters at your door. I guarantee you that, if you do this and this has a cascading effect entire Bangalore will know about 1062 in a month. DISHA was initiated for a single purpose of making the blood scenario in the city better. We cannot see anyone being denied of blood. We want to make blood search a cakewalk. Blood should be accessible at your fingertips. It takes to fight the system. It takes to make world a better place to live in.
In the near future, do not be amazed to see blood availability indicated in the local media along with the weather reports. To see, the blood availability in the city with your morning cup of tea.
We all can make a change. Only thing required is that, we need to be strong enough to make our dreams come true. Together we can make a difference.