Celebrating 8 years of Disha - the blood help-line

On 13th September 2014, Disha the blood help-line will be celebrating the 8th year of continuous service. Since the launch on the evening of 13th September 2006 at the Raj Bhawan by the then governor of Karnatataka Sh. T N Chaturvedi, the help-line has grown into a reliable, single window access to blood for all parts of Karnataka. Let's take a dive into the working of the unique blood help-line off Karanataka.

India has reported 80% voluntary blood donation implying that 4 out of 5 people in need of blood should find the blood units on the shelves of one or the other blood bank. In-spite of the progress made in moving towards 100% voluntary blood donation, the suffering associated with blood search does not seem to reduce proportionately - thanks to the decentralized nature of blood banking services in the country.

Sankalp India Foundation initiated Project Disha on 13th September 2006 to bridge the gap between the needy and the blood banks. The project involved setting up of 24 X 7 centralized blood help-line number - "Looking for blood? Call 9490044444". Anyone looking for blood in the state of Karnataka could dial this number and within seconds receive an sms containing the contacts numbers of the blood bank in their vicinity which have the blood component they need. The 24 hour help-line number makes available blood stocks from 65 blood banks across the state accessible to anyone who can make a phone.

The help-line gets blood stock information of all 65 blood banks on a daily basis. A dedicated response centre executive(RCE) receives the call and determines the exact nature of blood requirement including identification of the required blood component. Based upon the proper need assessment, the RCE is able to make an informed choice on the 2-3 most suitable blood banks in the vicinity of the patient. The same information is passed on to the patients through SMS. If blood is not available in any of the blood bank, the donor contact numbers from the near vicinity of the hospital where blood may be donated are sent.

Unique and wholesome technological innovation

This help-line is unique in the sense that it fills a crucial gap in the existing blood banking system enabling it to deliver the benefits to the community in an optimal manner. The help-line provides life saving information at the crucial moment through a multi-tier approach designed to make the service accessible even to the people who may be facing difficulty defining their blood requirement. The help-line reaches out to all the districts of the state of Karnataka providing help round the clock. On a daily basis the help-line receives 40-42 blood requests for more than 100 units of blood. Each request is catered to.

The help-line helps the critical patients, victims of accidents, pregnant women, patients who need blood repeatedly (like thalassemia patients, cancer patients etc) and plays a pivotal role when there is shortage of blood - connecting patients to units of blood in any and every blood bank in their vicinity.

The service gives people an option rather than falling prey to middlemen/professional donors thereby contributing significantly in keeping the blood banking system clean and healthy.

The help-line also assists blood donors who call to find where they can donate blood contributing towards voluntary blood donation.

The solution differs from numerous solutions related to blood donation which tend to encourage patients to get in touch with donors at the time of need - an act which leads unnecessary delay in organising for blood and encourages the practice of replacement blood donation - something which is discouraged by national and international blood policies. Instead the help-line identifies changes in blood stock information for a citywide level and enables early planning of blood donation camps which ensure that blood shelves do not run dry. The proactive intervention saves numerous patients from misery and pain.

The help-line is also able to segregate the blood requests for rare blood groups, the ones which cannot be fulfilled by existing blood stocks in blood banks and those for other corner cases and enable appropriate intervention. Thus, on one call, the patient is able to get access to expert level intervention with multi-pronged approach specifically tailored to the situation that the patient faces.

The help-line has proven itself by helping patients each day for the last eight years. It has inspired confidence in 800+ hospitals across the state of Karnataka and enjoys voluntary participation of 65+ blood banks across the state.

The help-line augments the current blood banking system, heavily employs technology for simplification of processes, judicious use of resources, is scalable and reliable and provides life saving service in an effective manner. Encouragement and support at this stage will encourage replication of the service to other states in the country - benefiting many more people.


  • 13,000 patients and their families get help every year
  • 2500 crucial blood requests a year which cannot be fulfilled by the existing stock of blood in the blood banks are managed by experts
  • Enables identification of trends in blood stocks and enables prediction of blood shortage in advance - thereby facilitating early intervention by organising timely blood donation drives.
  • The help-line enables people to find blood when they need all in a matter of seconds. This reinforces their trust and confidence in blood banking services and thereby brings about a positive change in their perception of voluntary blood donation camps.
  • The help-line is reassuring to voluntary blood donors when they donate in camp because it helps them understand how every patient in need of blood will be able to connect to the blood they donate - thus eliminating the fear of blood getting wasted and not reaching the needy.
  • Simplification of blood search and access to safe blood makes it more difficult for individuals who seek to exploit patients by offering to find blood.

Keeping the help-line at its best

"We do a bi-annual review based upon the data captured on the application to tune it to the changing needs of blood transfusion requirements and to benefit from the leaning and advancements in technology. We are committed to ensuring that anyone who calls for blood is given the most appropriate solution. This implies that the latest advancements in blood transfusion medicine, blood banks in the geographic vicinity and other voluntary blood donation platforms are all factored in the application.
Disha help-line uses a software which has inbuilt reporting that shows critical information related to blood stocks, calls taken, origin and nature of calls etc. The team shares progress on a bi-weekly basis based upon these reports. The application has inbuilt quality check processes which enable identification of gaps. Any significant gap is acted upon immediately. "

Sankalp India Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank the participating blood banks, the hospitals and the numerous individuals who help spread the good word about the blood help-line as we celebrate it’s 8th anniversary.

Together we have made a difference!

You can help publicize Disha by putting up the posters and stickers related to the help-line in hospitals and clinics around you. You can also put these stickers on your vehicles. Please send a mail to sankalp.admin@gmail.com or send an SMS to 9480044444 with your complete postal address and contact number. We will send the publicity material to you.

Sankalp Unit
Patrika Section