With Covid 19 cases on a steady rise in India, we are consistently reading of frontline health workers struggling to keep up due to insufficient testing kits, medicines and most importantly, number of beds per patient.
Amid these dire circumstances, social distancing is of paramount necessity. However, what of the people who need medical consultations for non-covid health problems?
Coming in with a solution, Odisha’s Ganjam district collector, Vijay Amruta Kulange is providing tele-health services so that people follow social distancing and hospital beds remain unoccupied.
Speaking to The Better India (TBI), he says:
“We have tied up with 50 doctors including general physicians and specialists across the district who provide free health consultations to the residents stuck at home. This way we are not only reducing the pressure on government hospitals but also reducing the risk of transmission for doctors as well as patients.”
Kulange has circulated contact details of doctors on WhatsApp and shared the same on his and district’s social media accounts. He has also mentioned timings so that doctors do not get calls 24/7. From stomach pains, headaches, fever, cold, blood pressure to allergies, the doctors cater to every non-urgent health issue on call.
Some patients can even consult via a video call in case of any visible symptoms or allergies. The doctors, in turn, suggest the course of action and write prescriptions on WhatsApp.
Naturally, this unique initiative has received a tremendous response and the district has recorded a drop in patients visiting hospitals for non-Covid health issues by 90 per cent, claims Kulange.
“Social distancing is the main challenge right now and if we take proper precautionary measures there is no need for people to get scared,” adds Kulange.
Apart from tele-health services, the district administration has also begun door-to-door deliveries of essential groceries and fresh vegetables, distribution of home-cooked food to homeless and the less privileged and constant monitoring of people showing symptoms of coronavirus. Kulange’s administration is not the only one to have resorted tele-health service
In Mumbai, for example, a group of doctors have initiated a free health service to answer all queries regarding coronavirus. Read more here
It goes without saying that the next few weeks are very crucial for India and sitting at home is an effective way to control the spread of COVID-19. If other cities and districts emulate Kulange’s initiative, it can significantly reduce the number of people coming in contact with potential carriers of the virus.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)