An online campaign called “Heroes Hand-To-Hand,” set up on social media by a group of activists, is helping in Turkey's fight against the coronavirus. The campaign arranges donations of immune plasma for COVID-19 treatment to charities and has reached around 2,000 people in eight months.
The social media group founded by health care workers, such as doctors and pharmacists, helps spread the word for people in need of donations across the country. They publish the blood type needed for donation and help inform those who have recovered from COVID-19 on how to donate to the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), which oversees donations.
Ebru Özümit, director of a pharmaceutical warehouse in the western province of Izmir, is among the group’s moderators. She told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday that the group of health care workers came together in April and started the group to raise awareness about plasma donations.
“Families of patients leave ads on the group’s page, with the blood type, name of the patient and location of the hospital where he or she is being treated. Our members also share the ads on their own accounts. We contact donors meeting the criteria for donations and we arrange the donation. People can donate anywhere in the country. A donor in Izmir donated for a patient in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, for example,” she said.
“It is priceless to see people recover after donations, and we share their video messages on recovery in our group,” she said. The group is growing every day, with patients who have recovered thanks to the donations volunteering to become donors.
Plasma therapy is a complementary treatment for COVID-19 patients, and recovered patients can donate plasma up to eight times. The serum therapy, also used in similar diseases, provides temporary, vaccine-like protection for patients with weak or suppressed immune systems by giving them antibody-rich plasma.