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Pune’s biggest anti-dengue weapon is reading this right now - you... welcome to platelet donation

Patients affected by dengue lose immunity as platelet counts goes down and they succumb to the disease in severe cases. Platelet donation is the life-saver and Veeshwajeet Kashid the life-saving evangelist

pune Updated: Dec 07, 2017 16:21 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,dengue,platelet donation
Veeshwajeet Kashid donating platelets as an SDP donor on Sunday, December 3.(HT Photo)

While Pune city is reeling under the stress of an increase in dengue cases, Veeshwajeet Kashid, a 28-year-old is trying to create awareness about platelet donations. Platelets are high in demand for patients suffering from dengue as it helps them in building up their immunity.

“Patients affected by dengue lose immunity as the platelet counts goes down and succumb to the disease in severe cases. Hence I urge youth to join me in my crusade to save as many lives as we can together,” said Kashid.

A computer engineer, and IT professional, Veeshwajeet was involved in blood donation when he was 18 and when he was introduced to platelet donation at 23 in 2013. “I began donating platelets when I realised the value of this donation,” he says.

While reading through the published Government Hospital Survey, he noticed that on an average 200 to 300 platelets were required for patients every month in 2014-15, but since 2016, with an increase in dengue and cancer patients, 3,000 to 4,000 bags of platelets are required. “There is not much awareness about platelet donation and I wondered if I could do anything about it. My purpose is to reach out to the younger generation. They are not aware of it, hence, I have taken to giving talks in schools and colleges to create awareness about this important donation.”

“I have a rare blood group (AB negative) and I came to donate blood regularly, but while I was here at Janakalyan blood bank, I came across a woman with a five-year-old child. Her child was suffering from cancer and in need of platelets. It moved me a lot and prompted me to study more about platelets,” he says. Veeshwajeet then became a single donor platelet (SDP) 50 to 60,000 platelets can be donated through SDP and I became a regular donor. Till date he has donated 107 times. Ideally, a volunteer can donate platelets 24 times in a year and a maximum of four times a month.

Blood donation is done after every three months. The shelf life for platelets is about five days, hence, there is more need for volunteers to come forward and donate it will help give a second life to the patient. Platelet donation is an easy process, similar to blood donation where the platelets of the donor are accessed through a machine where the blood components are collected from the donor.

He has conducted more than 600 awareness seminars across the city, and worldwide (he was invited to Germany too) to help people understand the importance of platelet donation. “It is like giving a second chance for a patient to live. The requirement of platelet donation rises between June to November every year when weather changes. This year Pune has seen rise in number of dengue cases that has resulted in demand for platelet donations,” he says.

Working as a goodwill ambassador he connects with youth and invites them to visit a blood bank and encourages them to donate. He wants to create a group of platelet donors from the age of 18 to 25. He has, till date, got 50 SDP donors in the city.

Speaking to Dr Madhuri Barve, doctor in charge at Janakalyan blood bank, “Platelet donation is an easy process, similar to blood donation where the platelets of the donor are accessed through a machine, this process is termed as “apheresis”, where only platelet components are separated and taken out from the blood and rest of the blood is returned to donor resulting no blood loss of the donor.

Platelets are always in need for cancer patients and also for liver transplants. With the alarming rise in dengue cases, we now have a stock of atleast 5 platelet bags as compared to one earlier.”

First Published: Dec 07, 2017 15:03 IST