Working from home, IT pros take time out to run health helpline

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on April 14, 2020

As they work from home completing projects and taking part in office conference calls, about 120 IT professionals are taking time out to create and run a medical helpline for non-Covid-19 patients.

Strictly confined to their homes, these professionals could rope in 240 doctors and 400 volunteers in towns and villages in different parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, who have agreed to spare their time on attending to calls.

They floated a window called Forum for People’s Health with a helpline number that connects patients with doctors.

Started two weeks ago, the helpline has so far attended to about 8,000 calls.

“From gynaecology cases to diabetes and cardiac cases, we are getting about 500 calls every day,” Y Kiran Chandra of Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) told BusinessLine.

“With most of the hospitals closed for non-Covid-19 patients, parents, particularly the poor and lower-middle-class people, with little or no mobility, are finding it difficult to get medical help during the lockdown days,” he said.

The members of FSMI and Forum for IT have divided work among themselves. “Some of them collect the data and document it, which is then accessed by relevant volunteers in different parts of the State,” he said.

As the lockdown disrupts transport services, some people are finding it difficult to go out to seek medical help.

“We have attended to calls from the kin of 20 pregnant women and ensured smooth deliveries in hospitals nearby,” he said.

One donor committed medicines worth ₹4 lakh for distribution to the needy.

Interestingly, the helpline is getting calls from people who ran out of essential medicines for diabetes and BP.

“We have made a list of medical shops that sell generic medicines to chip in,” he said.

Published on April 14, 2020

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