Dengue Outbreak in Bengal: How Project Life Force Bridges the Gap Between Patients and Blood Donors
What the 'recipient' needs to do is just to call Project Life Force (PLF)'s helpline number and the PLF volunteers do the rest.
Doctors in Kolkata say the motivation to donate blood is more among the people in West Bengal compared to other parts of the country.
Kolkata-based Project Life Force (PLF) offers a ray of hope for dengue patients at a time when dengue cases are on the rise in West Bengal and relatives of the patients are facing problems in procuring blood bags to save the lives of their loved ones. Project Life Force, which is on a mission to make West Bengal a ZERO Blood deficit state, connects the blood donor to the recipient for free and helps them like a Good Samaritan.
What the 'recipient' needs to do is just to call the organization's helpline number and the PLF volunteers do the rest. PLF searches for potential 'donors' (basically youngsters) in the vicinity, provides required instruction to the donor within and identifies the venue where the blood bag needs to be delivered within a few minutes. Here, everything comes for free. Neither the organization nor the 'donors' charge any fee for this noble service.
According to data, 70% of the blood bags collected in West Bengal hospitals come from blood donation camps organized by different political parties. The downside is that many donors are reluctant to donate blood for free and it becomes the PLF's responsibility to motivate them. And the problem doesn't end here.
The problem with blood transfusion, say doctors, is with anyone having a blood group which is negative as compared to the probability of finding more donors with positive blood groups. Also Single Platelet Donors are few in number and that can be a challenge for recipient patient parties. Dr. Devashish Desai, Transfusion Medicine, says, "There was a shortage of blood in the last 2-3 months with the festival and dengue season coinciding. Blood banks can store blood when there no shortage as blood has a shelf life.'
However, doctors in Kolkata say the motivation to donate blood is more among the people in West Bengal compared to other parts of the country.
Pranab Bedi of Project Life Force says, "If more young people get into the system, the problem will be weeded out. Everyone has a super hero inside and many students voluntarily agree to donate blood after we speak to them in schools and colleges."
Though the state government has been maintaining that there is no major outbreak of dengue and had initially put the number at 13 and even 34 at one time, PLF used to receive at least five calls a day on the helpline asking for blood and platelets. The Calcutta High Court asked the state government to verify its figures after an affidavit submitted in the HC, in response to 10 writ petitions, mentioned about 19 cases of dengue deaths which touched 38 on Thursday. However, the government figures say out of the 38 deaths, only 23 patients died in government-run hospitals.
Opposition parties including the BJP, the Left and the Congress have been protesting against the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool government's apathy to control the dengue menace. Doctors have come out in protest too. Dr. Aunanchal Dutta Chowdhury from Barasat in North 24 Parganas district was suspended following a Facebook post which highlighted the plight of the dengue patients in government hospitals. After this revelation, doctors in Kolkata also held a protest march on Tuesday and questioned the motives of the state government.
The blame game between Bengal Government and Opposition parties is still on as the sudden rise in dengue cases has become a worrying sign for the authorities. While the people in West Bengal suffer from dengue and the call for platelets is an urgent requirement, it is Samaritans like the youth and welfare organizations that come forward to do their bit to save lives.
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