Distress calls inundate Covid-19 teleconsultation helpline number

Dr Saurabh Kumar, Dr Narendra Dev and Dr Praveen, all young graduates from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna take around 60 to 70 distress covid related calls daily, most of which are from rural areas of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Their experience of attending Covid-19 patients in the Intensive Care wards of AIIMS, Patna helps them to treat and advise better.In this pursuit, they are joined by nine more young doctors from AIIMS who also take around the same number of calls and queries.

An initiative of Shyam Kishore Singh Memorial Foundation led by Kumar Shanu, an advocate and a graduate from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the US has become the go-to teleconsultation helpline in the rural areas for problems related to Covid-19.

He says “We were already helping people get beds and procure medicines & oxygen cylinders since day one of the second wave but with the Government of India amending its teleconsultation rules, we felt like we should formally channel this in a way that maximum good can be done.”

The initiative was initially supposed to be focused on Bihar, but they got calls all over the country including Madhya Pradesh. Dr. Baidhnath Gupta, a resident doctor pursuing Doctor of Medicine (DM) in infectious diseases at AIIMS Delhi comments “I come from an unprivileged part of India. Since my family is still based there, I’m able to understand the magnitude of the crisis and at the same time the lack of means to battle the odds. To decrease the helplessness and save as many lives as we can, I’m part of this initiative and doing everything required.”