Maharashtra has launched an emergency blood delivery service with the promise of delivering within an hour across the state, say officials.
Jeevan Amrut Seva, or 'Blood On Call' service was tested for a year as a pilot project in Satara and Sindhudurg and following a successful run, has been implemented all over the state.
It was inaugurated by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan at a function in the government-run Sir J. J. Hospital here Tuesday afternoon.
Explaining about the service, Health Minister Suresh Shetty said that very often people who require blood of a particular group have to run from pillar to post to acquire it.
"In an emergency, every minute counts. Now, with 'Blood On Call', people can call 104 toll-free number, specify the blood group, the reason for requiring it and it will be delivered within an hour," Shetty said.
The blood will be priced at pre-decided government rates, will be of tested quality and the packets would be delivered in sealed containers, he added.
Presently, the 104 call centre is based in Pune but within four months co-ordinating centres will be opened in 10 major cities, Shetty said, with all existing blood banks in the state joined to the network for the service.
The patient will also be required to bear the transportation charges which start at Rs.50 for the first 10 km.
According to the State Blood Transfusion Council, there are presently around 250 licenced, registered blood banks in Maharashtra, including 72 run by the government, 123 by trusts, 10 by the Red Cross Society and the rest privately.
Of these, based on the total blood collection per annum, 31 are classified as 'major blood banks' and another 41 categorised as district-level blood banks.