The covid-19 treatment guidelines considered plasma therapy to be one of the effective lines of treatment when a person was in a severe condition of Covid-19. So we started our research on plasma therapy and thought to bring it to Vizag as soon as possible as there were many deaths with every passing day. We also thought to bring plasma therapy to everyone in need without differences like rich or poor. We were inspired by the Delhi model of operations for creating a plasma bank. Whoever wanted to donate plasma could donate voluntarily, just like blood donations, for every request raised, a quick disbursement of plasma unit for the recipient was done.
Our main motives were :
To identify a blood bank and convert it as a plasma bank to respond quickly to every request raised.
To curtail the rising black market.
Never connect donor or recipient.
To motivate people on voluntarily plasma donations.
Total 500+ calls received, 112+ requests fulfilled, 73+ patients alive.
We took the initiative of a plasma donation drive in Visakhapatnam in July 2020. We made our research-level document to learn about basic terminologies and to gain enough knowledge about plasma therapy. We also had several sessions with doctors in Delhi and Kerala to get accurate information about plasma.
We also wanted to simplify the process and change the procedures of plasma donations. Therefore, we spoke with many blood banks in Vizag to start a plasma storage bank so that the need can be addressed immediately in case of any requirement. But, as it was new to the city, many blood banks were not ready to initiate the process.
Our basic idea was to motivate the donors to come and donate plasma voluntarily, and the head of AS RAJA blood bank appraised our concept and collaborated with us. While starting this process, we were aware that it is a long process and it will continue till next year, so designing and planning the process was so important.
Initially, we faced many issues in finding donors and sending them voluntarily to the blood bank. As most of the people had no information about plasma therapy, the black market started rising. We identified many black-market handlers and gave specific warnings. But, building that process to get hastle free plasma was still in progress.
We incorporated digital technology in this by using our organization's website to collect requests. We also had our emergency helpline number, so we successfully reached out to the needy people.
Finally, we became successful in the mission we initiated and collaborations with SCSC, RHA (Hyderabad), and AS Raja Blood bank to achieve our goals.
Sudharshan, one of our donors, became the first person to donate plasma six times in Andhra Pradesh.
"We collaborated with AS Raja Blood bank, as it had all the necessary permissions and standards, and with the help of Dr Sugandhi and her team, we converted it into a plasma bank.
There were three modes of collection of requests, i.e. our Helpline 7337335557, website form fills and social media messages.
We received a list of covid recovered people from our google form, website registrations and Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC). Our volunteers called and motivated them to come forward and donate plasma to save lives.
As received from our calling team, the list of potential donors was again contacted by us for scheduling an appointment in the blood bank for initial sampling to check if the person has any co-morbidities or has enough COVID antibodies. If he passed the sampling test again, we took an appointment from the donor for extracting plasma as the entire process would take up to 2-3 hrs. Until the entire process was complete, this team was in continuous contact with the donor and the blood bank.
The entire plasma requests, once approved by the head volunteer, were disbursed. We also used to call all those patient attendees and plasma recipients to check their condition of health, and if found fit, we tried to motivate them to donate plasma to save someone else's life."
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