About 40,000 people in the district have recovered in the past four months from
The group, Help Riders, launched a couple of years ago to arrange ambulances for the needy, has already gathered details of around 400 people in the Kothrud and Bavdhan areas who have recovered from COVID-19. At present, they are trying to get in touch with each of them so that they donate plasma for COVID-19 positive patients being treated. The number of active COVID-19 cases is about 24,000 in the district now.
The first convalescent plasma therapy in Pune was performed at Sassoon General Hospitals in May in which the patient has recovered well. Since then, the plasma therapy is being performed at
As there is a lack of awareness among the recovered lot, the Help Riders members are reaching out to some of them to make them ready for plasma donation. “There are many people who are still not aware of plasma therapy. We have found that there are lots of misconceptions among people that need to be addressed. Therefore, through this group, we are reaching out to people who have fought and won the battle against the virus so that they can help others also by donating plasma,” said Prasanna Hegde, another member of the group.
The group so far has managed to reach out to nearly a hundred people of which the group members stated seven to eight have agreed to donate plasma. Speaking to Mirror, one of the donors who had recovered from COVID-19 in the first week of this month, said, “I was not aware of the plasma therapy when I was being treated for COVID-19. When I recovered, I wanted to share my experience with others to make them aware. However, the members of Help Riders contacted me and told me about plasma therapy. Now I feel that I can contribute in the fight against the virus by donating plasma rather than just creating awareness.”
Another person who has agreed to donate plasma said, “It pains me to see that the government is still advertising to create awareness about use of masks and sanitisers or social distancing. Now people are aware of all these issues but the topic on which the citizens need to be made aware is something like plasma therapy. If more people like me come forward to donate plasma, it will help several others who are admitted in various hospitals of the district.”
Even the plasma collection centres authorised by the government feel that there is a lack of awareness among people about the plasma donation. Dr Atul Kulkarni, director of Jankalyan Blood Bank, one of the authorised plasma collection centres in Pune, told Mirror, “When we appeal the people to donate plasma, we find that there are lots of misconceptions among them. Most of them have asked us whether their immunity will go down if they donate plasma. We have to create more awareness about the therapy and make more people volunteer for plasma donation.”
“We requested the civic administration to share details of the patients who have recovered and from that list, we have started contacting the people who are eligible for plasma donation to come forward, as it is needed the most now,” Dr Kulkarni added.
District collector Naval Kishore Ram also admitted that there is a need to create more awareness about plasma donation. “At present, when a patient recovers, the doctors counsel and tell them about plasma donation before handing over discharge certificate. However, there is a need to go beyond counselling. We are planning to create more awareness among citizens about the benefits of plasma therapy and we will try to clear the misconceptions about the therapy.”
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