COVID-19 lockdown: Over 7300 patients assisted with different healthcare emergencies in Srinagar

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SRINAGAR: The Srinagar district administration has assisted over 7300 non-COVID health emergencies and ailment cases, with assistance ranging from free dialysis, transportation, drugs, medical check-ups, hospital assistance, chemotherapies and other required assistance.

At the onset of COVID response in Kashmir, a special helpline was launched by the district administration over 2 months ago to take care of existing health issues with special focus on patients suffering from kidney ailments, diabetes, cancer, those requiring dialysis, chemotherapies, anti-diabetic drugs, essential and life-saving drugs among other listed priorities including pregnancies.

In April the administration launched an IVRS-based call centre aimed at a holistic response to various emergencies and COVID related coordination as well as addressing public grievances. A dedicated cell in the call centre was earmarked for non-COVID health issues. More than 7300 patients have been assisted by the team upto June 1.

District Magistrate Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, who launched this special initiative aimed at minimising hardships faced by the patients, said that over 7300 patients have been assisted so far, and at free of cost, which includes dialysis, chemotherapies, essential medicines, transportation and other requirements registered with the call centre.

Dialysis has remained a major demand, with 3292 patients assisted by the helpline at 12 different designated dialysis centres in the city. Free medicines were delivered to 1811 patients by roping in drug control organization, magistrates, police officers, NYC volunteers and zonal officers appointed for various areas. Apart from this, prescribed life-saving and essential drugs were arranged from New Delhi through air cargo on demand and delivered to patients at their doorsteps.

To overcome difficulties thrown by lack of public transport, a dedicated fleet of vehicles was engaged for patient assistance. Sixteen vehicles were deployed for movement of such patients who contacted the call centre. By the end of May, 396 patients availed the transportation assistance. The helpline also attended 39 emergencies including fire incidents, accidents and injuries. It also assisted 107 expecting mothers for required medical care.

Anti-diabetic drugs and chek-ups were availed by 311 patients in the city while 178 cases of chemotherapies were assisted at various health institutions and centres in the city.

The administration pooled resources from several schemes, untied grants, district resources as well as some donations from philanthropists. The dialysis centres also agreed for no-profit-no-loss services for the cases referred by the district administration.

These services were started in view of lockdown announced for COVID containment. Patients facing inconvenience due to lockdown were identified and assisted by the administration.

 

This intervention has been widely appreciated by the public and has been seen as life-saving in several cases. Now with gradual easing of lockdown with relaxations announced in the district the administration is mulling shifting to routine healthcare response for these patients.

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