Khusroo Pocha, a railway employee from Nagpur, started an online directory for platelet donors last week. Owing to the low shelf life of platelets, there is a need for regular platelet donors in the community, particularly with the spread of dengue, said experts.
The online directory, called plateletdonors.org, has already garnered about 100 volunteers. The website also has an SMS service for patients who need platelet donors. About five patients have availed of this service so far.
Platelets can be made available in the form of random donor platelets or single donor platelets. Platelets that are normally available with blood banks are in the form of random donor platelets. These are obtained after separation of components from blood collected in routine blood donation drives.
Single donors platelets are collected from a donor through a process called apheresis, which is a technique of selectively withdrawing platelets without drawing any other component of blood.
"In many cases, we need single donor platelets. These cannot be obtained in a blood donation drive. There is also a need for volunteers, because it takes more than an hour to donate such platelets," said Pocha.
Every hospital has a list of platelet donors. There are also registries such as the LiveSavers Club formed by Think Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, which has about 1,000 volunteers registered.
"There are less chances of infection in cases of single donor platelets. It is preferred for certain conditions such as cancer, bone marrow replacement and chemotherapy among others," said Dr Hitesh Pagare, deputy medical director, JJ Mahanagar Raktapedhi.