Hyderabad, India, April, 2020 -- In these times of lockdown when all the medical resources are concentrating on combating the coronavirus pandemic, the non-Covid patients are the ones getting impacted the most. In order to help these patients get connected with the right doctor, get medicines and/or avail counselling, a group of IT professionals have come together to launch a medical helpline.
Unveiled at the start of April, the free medical helpline number, 040-48214595, is being run by 400-plus volunteers out of which 150 are IT professionals working at the call centre. The remaining are on-field volunteers who help people in need for ambulances, medicines, blood bank or any other kind of medical emergency.
As soon as a patient calls the helpline, the volunteer understands the medical issue and connects them with the doctor and in case a caller is seeking any other help then they are routed to the on-field volunteers. It also helps patients and/or their attendees get prescriptions and counselling. The team has developed an in-house software tool that documents the data and connects them with relevant volunteers to make the right connect with the doctors.
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"Once the first lockdown was announced, we started getting a lot of enquiries within our IT professional community seeking medical help. That is when we thought of starting this helpline that can help patients who cannot travel to hospital for regular checkups. The helpline is currently available for people across both the Telugu speaking States — Telangana and Andhra Pradesh," said Y Kiran Chandra of Free Software Movement of India (FSMI).
The helpline is being run under Forum for People’s Health which is a joint effort of the Forum of IT Professionals and FSMI. It is getting majority of calls from rural areas of Telangana and AP.
The helpline has over 217 doctors ranging from general surgeons and physicians to multiple specialists like Gynecologist, Orthopedician, Ophthalmologist, Cardiologist, Pediatricians, ENT specialist, Neurologist, Radiologist, Dentist, Dermatologist, Gastroenterologist, Nephrologist, Diabeticist, Urologist, Oncologist etc. People with mental health issues can also call the helpline to talk to Psychiatrists and Psychologists.
So far, the helpline has attended to 13,000 calls and is available in three languages — Telugu, Hindi and English.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Monday, April 27, 2020
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