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As the rains started to pour in the city of Kolkata, the number of dengue cases rose tremendously. Stray cases of dengue began to surface from the end of June but towards the end of July the city witnessed a sudden spike in the vector-borne disease. As reported by government officials, the city has recorded 300 cases of dengue and Behala a locality in the south west of Kolkata has faced the strongest blow. With the outset of sporadic rains, there comes a pressing need to raise awareness around mosquito control as stagnant waters lead to breeding grounds for mosquitoes. India’s first platelet donor line ‘7878782020’ proves to be a ray of hope for dengue patients. Platelet donor helpline is an initiative by Godrej HIT, supported by Apollo Hospitals Group, established in 2017 with an intent to build a base of platelet donors big enough to save lives.
Dengue patients face a decline in blood platelet count leading to internal bleeding and eventually death in extreme cases. Thus, this drop in platelet count requires quick platelet transfusion to save lives. However, platelets are not readily available as they cannot be stored for more than 5 days.
While Kolkata is coping with the dengue menace, this platelet donor helpline has 1.25 lakh donors who are just a call away to donate platelets. In addition to Kolkata, platelet donor helpline is also present in cities like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad Notably, platelet donor helpline has successfully saved lives of many critical dengue patients.
In Kolkata, dengue patients or their relatives seeking platelet can call on the HIT Platelet helpline ‘7878782020’. On receiving requests, registered donors are updated through calls and SMS. The platelet donor visits the patient directly at any hospital where he/she is admitted or the platelets are sent to the patient. They can also avail platelet transfusion at their nearest Apollo Hospital, the medical partner for the helpline, even if they are not admitted there. People can register themselves as a platelet donor by logging on www.godrejhit.com/trackthebite.
Commenting on the India’s first platelet donor helpline, Mr. Sunil Kataria, CEO – India & SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Limited, said, “Platelet donor helpline is India’s unique platform bringing donors and dengue patients together to help each other crowd source platelets. It helps patients get platelets, which cannot be stored. We are happy to see that over the last one year; more than 1 lakh people have registered to be platelet donors resulting in 8 lives being saved. Though this is a good start, we consider it as our responsibility to create mass awareness around how platelets are crucial during dengue and encourage more platelet donations.”
He further added “We are grateful to the 1.25 lakh registered platelet donors for being part of our mission to fight dengue and save lives. We urge citizens in Kolkata to register as a platelet donor on www.godrejhit.com/trackthebite or by calling on ‘7878782020’ and help save lives of critical dengue patients.”
Speaking on the initiative, Ms. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “Vector borne diseases like dengue are emerging as a threat to public health in India. To address this issue, we at Apollo Hospitals, have tied-up with Godrej HIT to build a platelet donor community. Through this initiative, we are trying to bridge the disparity in awareness and provide ready resources to manage diseases like dengue.”
A survey conducted by Godrej HIT found 94% citizens are unaware about the critical level of platelet count below which platelet transfusion is required in dengue cases. Unlike blood, platelets can’t be stored for more than 5 days. The report also informed that 80% citizens are unaware of this fact. Due to a short shelf life of platelets, there is also a high demand for platelet donors. Platelets are extracted from a donor through a process called apheresis which allows extraction of large amounts of platelets from a single donor. The procedure is safe and one can return to normal activities soon. In fact, the body replaces the platelet count back to normal within 24 hours.
As part of the platelet donor community, Godrej HIT wanted to educate masses on platelet donation and threats posed by loss of platelets in dengue cases. Over the last one year, an awareness program conducted by Godrej HIT reached out to over 5 million citizens across India.