Dengue is wrecked havoc all over the country. We believe that the Government is doing something to fight the problem. At the same time we thought that it could be a good idea to try to understand what exactly can we as individuals do to fight this problem better. Please use this forum to share ideas.
Two agencies that should be part of the solution to this problem are government and the media.
For the time being Sankalp could initiate the following things ..(Dengue season is from June till October...so we still have time.)
1) Request/persuade/convince the media to a) spread awareness about dengue on the scale of H1N1 b) conduct an inquiry to find the inacuracies in the treatement of this disease in hospitals.
2) There must be channels of questioning the government about the steps they have taken for its prevention and treatement. NGO like Janagraha ( http://www.janaagraha.org/ ) are good at doing such things. Sankalp might want to interact with them to seek answers in this reagrd.
3) Doing a little research to collect the following data can help make a point in the future....1) no. of confirmed dengue cases 2) no. of platelet transfusions needed 3) How many samples did the govt. labs receive 4) Which hospitals sent samples to govt labs. and how many ? Having quantifyable infomation will add value to what we say and can increase the chances of Sankalp convincing people/authorities in the future.
For future : (Anything done in temrs of prevention has enormous benefit in this case)
1) Can Sankalp initiate anything for dengue prevention?
2) Identify regions/localities in bangalore most affected by dengue..If not everywhere preventive measure can be initiated by Sabkalp in these regions (next season)
3) Identify collaboration with other organizations (NGO) for prevention...Think of Janaagraha, RSS etc.
4) Increase awareness about platelett apheresis in sankalp drives.
What is required are donors,can we not attract them somehow for donations??
If situation is that serious,govt"(say funds)" can arrange for some schemes for the donors donating in this season.Schemes like some sort of insurance policy or some advantage of theirs ,issue them a card.
Or may be lower down the cost of apheresis procedure,isnt that too high many a times.
I guess sometimes we have "jugads" which could always return some favour.
There are several factors affecting the supply of platelets:
- The Requirement for Large Number of Donations: Blood transfusion services in our country are far from 100% Voluntary Blood donation. We are struggling to make sure blood is available in the blood banks. In such conditions replacement has not be phased out completely. Dengue patients require enormous volumes of platelets to be transfused. Getting so many donors is a major issue.
- Disproportionate consumption of Blood Components: The other factor which plagues the transfusion services, even those which manage to get donors is the exceptionally skewed utilization of blood components. While lot of platelets need to be separated during dengue outbreak, the red cells which are separated out do not get utilized at a matching rate forcing the transfusion services to avoid large camps.
- Missing accessibility to Modern Component Separation Procedures: The component separation procedures like platelet apheresis are by and large away from the reach of a common man. The procedure is costly and is available mostly with private setups.
Hospitals who need large supply of platelets (mostly for oncology treatment) have embraced platelet apheresis as a solution for effective supply of platelets. With the magnitude of the dengue outbreak and the increase in the number of cases year after year, there is a need to equip the government hospitals across the country to collect platelets by apheresis method. Private institutions are charging an extremely prohibitive cost for the procedure. Government hospital can ensure that the benefits of this procedure reach the common man.
Sankalp has identified some blood banks which we believe are truly service oriented. We have approached those blood banks with a request to start the process of platelet aphersis. If the good, service oriented blood bank start the apheresis procedure, then it is likely that:
- cost of apheresis will come down
- more needy poeple will get timely help
- the overload of red cells which is a direct consequence of massive demand of platelets will end
Hoping that they will act soon and upgrade themselves.
While dengue is pressing the blood transfusion services to move towards apheresis for platelets, the companies manufacturing the apheresis kits are running a riot. Normally when the consumption for a particular product goes up, the price comes down as the cost of R&D gets distributed over larger number of units. Strangely enough, the cost of the kit for platelets is prohibitively high and it does not look like enough is being done to bring it down. Recently a social minded blood bank refused to go for platelet apheresis equipment because they feel the cost is exploitative.