The sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the country has led to an increased demand for oxygen supply and blood plasma from people who have recovered from the viral infection with antibodies against Coronavirus.
At such a time, to aid people in distress, an IAS officer-turned-actor Abhishek Singh has launched an online portal ‘Unitedbyblood’ to streamline the plasma donation process and an oxygen taxi for refilling the empty oxygen cylinders.
The portal, launched a week ago, was founded with an aim to create a repository for plasma by establishing real-time and seamless contact between donors and recipients.
Talking about the initiative, Singh told ANI, “There is a lot of information asymmetry regarding blood plasma for COVID-19 patients. There are very few donors available and very few plasma banks.”
“People on social media are looking for blood plasma and plasma donors. I thought why not make a platform to bring everybody together at a digital platform. On one hand, we have donors and on another hand, we have people requesting plasma. The concept is similar to booking an Ola and Uber, by capturing the location of both donors and those who need it,” he added.
On the online portal, the recipient and donor are required to fill a one-page form, where they give details like name, phone number and location is captured automatically.
“You will be shown a list of donors as per your location. Then you click on a particular donor or recipient. Our website will connect you with them directly,” Singh added.
Highlighting the second initiative ‘Oxytaxi’, the 2011 batch IAS officer Singh said, “Yesterday we started this initiative for the home delivery of oxygen cylinders, especially for people who are not able to come out. Civil society members have also been supporting us. People can request an ‘Oxytaxi’ through the same website.”
‘Oxytaxi’ project is for oxygen cylinders. Under the project, a volunteer team delivers 100 oxygen cylinders to people in need every day.
The required information for availing of the service is an SpO2 level reading, a prescription from a doctor and an empty cylinder. The ‘Oxytaxi’ team will give a filled cylinder and take the empty cylinder from the patient.
Speaking about the response he received, Singh said, “It has been just over a week and we have got 1,500 registrations and more than 300 people have been benefitted. ‘Unitedbyblood’ has become a nationwide success as people from Bangalore in Karnataka, to Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, and Gujarat. It is benefitting and connecting people in need with service providers.”
“Presently ‘Oxytaxi’ service is available in Delhi but we will try to expand in other parts of the country as well,” he added.
33-year-old Singh, who is the Deputy Commissioner in Delhi revealed that the most important challenge is publicity, as information is very cluttered and it is difficult to push the right information to the correct user.
Describing his next initiative of providing oxygen concentrators and renting one to people in need, Singh said, “People are keeping concentrators as they think they would require it during an emergency, but people who need it might not have the access to the correct source. We are trying to create a pool so that we can ensure the owner another concentrator in case of an emergency. We are trying to achieve optimum utilisation of resources. We should be able to roll out in few days.”
Singh’s initiatives are free of profit, connecting people in need during a time of crisis.