As the State government departments and hospitals gear up against dengue and launch prevention and control measures, India’s first platelet donor helpline is being launched by a private hospital in the city.
Medicos said that dengue patients face a decline in blood platelet count, leading to internal bleeding and death in extreme cases. However, platelets are not always readily available as they cannot be stored for more than 5 days. “Once the number of dengue cases rises, the demand for platelet donors also increases. Owing to shorter shelf life, the platelets are extracted using a special device called apheresis. Platelets are extracted from a single donor and one can return to normal activities soon. The body replaces the platelet count to normal within 24 hours,” Dr Ramakrishnan, general medicine consultant at Apollo Hospitals.
Dengue patients or their relatives seeking platelet can call the helpline. On receiving requests, registered donors are updated through calls and SMS.
The helpline is an initiative by Godrej HIT and Apollo Hospitals that has a base of more than 1.25 lakh platelet donors. Stating that vector-borne diseases like dengue are emerging as a threat to public health in India, joint managing director of Apollo Hospitals Sangeeta Reddy said that the initiative will help to build a donor community.