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Nagpur couple Nets blood-donor dossier

A Parsi couple from Nagpur — that has never been to Calcutta — has turned saviour of Calcuttans desperately seeking blood to save a life.

A website the couple has floated is the only information kiosk in the city that provides an area-wise list of blood donors. Thereby, you know the nearest door you can knock on — be it Shyambazar or Santoshpur — when someone you know needs immediate transfusion.

It was the death of a friend in Nagpur, in spite of the best efforts of the donor card-equipped circle of friends to get its hands on some O-negative blood, that prompted the Poachas of 17, New Colony, Nagpur, to launch the website that has attracted over 50 Calcutta subscribers.

Complete with the address, phone number, blood-group and even the last date of donation of blood, indianblooddonors.com (powered by net4india) tries to minimise the problems of people looking for blood to save a life.

“I am a donor myself but realised that day (in November 1999) how difficult it is to get your hands on some blood of the right group when you really need it,” Khushroo Poacha told Metro over the phone from his Nagpur residence. “I found myself thinking that if I — equipped with a donor’s card — found it impossible to get the blood on time, how difficult it must be for the average person,” he added.

The site divides Calcutta and its neighbourhood into 50-plus areas, based on postal indices. From Alambazar (in the north) to Tollygunge (in the south), every area is listed, so you don’t have to spend too much time when every second counts.

The site also tells you the last time the donor gave blood. Donation of blood is not encouraged more than once in 90 days and the site keeps that fact in mind; if a donor has donated blood within the last three months, the date of the last donation is changed to “recently donated”.

“We want to give more options to the individuals who have enlisted on the site,” Poacha said. “For someone who does not want to give blood too frequently, we will leave a column where he/she can specify the number of times he/she would like to donate blood in a year,” he added.

Hospitals from Calcutta, like Kothari Medical Centre, have called up the Poachas several times. Another Calcutta connection is provided by Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital, which gets quite a few cancer patients from Calcutta, says Poacha.

The husband-and-wife team is planning a national blood bank link-up. “We will now coordinate with blood banks throughout the country to link them up for a more concerted effort to reach blood to those who need it,” Poacha said.

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