The Mumbai traffic department has given a go-ahead for motorcycles that will be carrying blood for patients to sport blue beacons and special sirens, just like ambulances, giving them the right of way in traffic. At least 20 such motorcycles will be seen on Mumbai roads from August 1, 2013 as a part of the state Blood-on-Call scheme.
The Blood-on-Call scheme comprises of a helpline number where a hospital can call and ask for a bag of blood which will then be delivered to the location in thirty minutes.
“The challenge in this scheme was to make sure that the blood reaches the recipient from the point of collection of the bags in 30 minutes since it will be carried in insulated cold packs which will be attached to motorbikes. The traffic department has given us a go-ahead to make sure that the motorcycles get the right of way and are treated at par with ambulances,” additional chief secretary, public health, TC Benjamin told Hindustan Times. He added that in the past year- 2012-13, the collection of blood through several camps has gone up by 10% from 10 lakh units per year to 13.5 lakh units per year.
“In Mumbai, there will be a central Mahanagar blood storage unit where the blood will be broken down into constituents and the platelets will be sent to 4 intermediate blood storage units in different areas of the city. From these units, we will have the platelets sent. But in case the requirement is from a far off area, then we will have to send blood bags,” he added.
The government has also identified a land at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai where it will be setting up training facilities for in-house government staff involved in the process of blood separation, as a support to this scheme.