Connecting lives

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Connecting lives

Sunday, 12 July 2020 | MUSBA HASHMI

Connecting lives

There are hundreds of COVID-19 warriors who are doing their bit, some sanitising their city and others saving lives. MUSBA HASHMI speaks with one such warrior — SARTHAK VERMA, the founder of Plasma Connect, about what makes the app so pertinent in the present situation

There are superheroes all dressed up in fancy costumes with capes like the ones we have seen in Hollywood or even in some of the Bollywood films. Then there are the other superheroes who are not dressed to the nines but are no less in super powers than any of our favourite hero.

A case in point is a 23-year-old IT specialist, a developer and designer,  Sarthak Verma. The growing gap in plasma donors and recipients affected Verma, so much so that he kept aside all his work to come up with an app that can help fill the void.

From the burqa-clad woman sanitising temples to a Class XII boy dealing with Corona patients’ bodies to buy medicines for his mother, there are so many unsung warriors rising from every nook and corner of the country. But what needs Verma a special mention is his will to be able to do something all by himself, without looking up to any financial support.

“Pertaining to the current crisis, I observed that people were and still are having problems connecting to plasma donors for COVID-19 patients. My social media accounts were full of pleas for plasma donors. This got me thinking. That is how I came up with Plasma Connect, an app to connect the donors and recipients in seconds,” Verma tells you.

It took Verma not more than 15 days to come with the app, all thanks to his proficiency in the IT sector. “I realised the urgency, so I kept aside all my ongoing work and worked day in and out for around 15 days to build the first version of the app, since then I am working on every feedback that I get and constantly trying to upgrade the app,” Verma says.

The app that was launched on June 30, 2020 on Play Store has seen 52 registered members till date, both donors and recipients. Some of the features of the app are that it is easy to use, not only the donors but anyone can register in the app, donors can view nearby recipients and vice versa, the donors and recipients are sorted by their blood groups in order to process requests faster and make it easier for people.

“To add additional security the mobile numbers of donors is only shown to the recipients after they have submitted a request form providing the necessary details of the patient and the hospital he is admitted in,” Verma explains. Apart from that people can also keep a count of total donors and requests made through the platform in real time.

However, there is much more on Verma’s cards. “Like I said, I am constantly working to improve the application in every possible manner. There are a few feature add-ons in my mind. One, we can provide e-certificates to the donors so that they can feel proud and also share them on their social media handles which, in turn, will motivate more potential donors to step up.

Two, we can reimburse the travel cuts of donors through the help of project supporters. Three, this app can also be connected with the new Plasma Bank in Delhi so that the whole process becomes more feasible. This will also allow us to manage, secure and visualise this sensitive data easily. Four, we can educate people about the details and know hows of Plasma Therapy through the app directly,” he explains.

For many Corona survivors, registering on the app is the least they can do to help people in the time of crisis. Such has been the case with a Mumbai-based, healthcare worker, Pranay.

“Being associated with a hospital I have to visit the facility for work. You are not safe even after taking utmost precautions while visiting the hotspot and this might be the reason I contracted the virus. However, the only way to fight it is to keep your immunity primed at all times and be mentally strong. Once you have done both then there’s nothing to worry about. That has been the case with me. By registering myself on the app as a donor, this is the least I can do to help save people’s lives,” he says.

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