Tata Memorial Centre along with ImPaCCT Foundation, Nargis Dutt Memorial Charitable Trust, Anjeze Charitable Trust & G.J. Kapoor Foundation has launched India’s first mobile app targeted towards platelet donation – “Save a Life” to maximize the scope and reach while also streamlining the process for Platelet Donation in India. With the launch of the mobile app, TMC hopes to leverage the use of mobile devices to maintain better contact with its regular platelets donors, reach out to a wider audience and bridge the need for platelets in India.
The ‘Save A Life’ (SAL) Initiative of TMC is a social movement for creating awareness about platelet donation, building a platelet donor registry and ensuring that the humongous need of voluntary platelet donations in TMH is met without burdening the patient or their family for replacements.
Started in 2009, the initiative has been hugely successful; today voluntary donors contribute to more than 87% of all platelet requirement of TMC, despite almost doubling of its needs. More than 3349 voluntary platelet donations were recorded in 2018 at TMC compared to 228 in 2009. This is approximately 70 voluntary donations per week that the hospital receives. In the last 10 years, more than 5000 donors have enrolled with ‘Save a Life’; over 100 of these voluntary donors have donated platelets more than 10 times, 15 of them have donated more than 100 times and 4 good Samaritans have donated platelets more than 200 times.
“We have a strong database of about 5000 platelet donors registered with Save a Life and through the app, we aim to not only increase the donor database but also achieve a 100% donation through societal participation and expansion of the donor pool registry at TMC. The app will allow users to track their donations and invite friends to donate. We think that the Save-a-Life mobile app has great potential in helping us bridge the demand-supply gap for platelets in the country.“ said Dr Shripad Banavali, Director-Academics, Head, Medical & Pediatric Oncology, TMH.
“Cancer is curable, if detected early and treated optimally but the most crucial requirements during the treatment are regular transfusion support. Without adequate Platelet and Blood transfusions there cannot be a chance of cure from cancer. Many are aware of blood donations but few about platelets. Platelet donors help save lives of cancer patients and hence Save a Life was christened. To bring in more donors all we have to do is to create awareness, especially amongst youth. When they know that one hour of their lives can Save a precious life, they keep coming back as the beacon of hope for our patients”, said Priya Dutt, Trustee, Nargis Dutt Memorial Charitable Trust.
“There is a wider gap in availability of platelets due to lack of awareness. Voluntary blood and platelet donations are perhaps the most perfect examples of altruism in action and the best means of providing safe blood components to bridge this gap in demand and supply. Tata Memorial Hospital is grateful to all the selfless Samaritans who give a part of themselves so that others may live”, said Dr Sunil Rajadhyaksha, Head, Department of Transfusion Medicine, TMH.
A survey was conducted to find out the reasons for treatment refusal and abandonment of treatment for pediatric cancer patients in 2009. At that time the rates of refusal and abandonment were almost 25%. The main reasons were lack of finance, lack of a place to stay, gender bias, lack of transfusion support etc. With the help of a holistic support model via ImPaCCT Foundation, the centre has been able to bring down the refusal and abandonment rates from 25 % to a 4 %.