PCMC to set up Covid helpline for children, to be manned by school kids

On Thursday, the civic chief held a meeting of principals, teachers and parents of eight schools. The meeting was also attended by sixteen students from class 7 to 9.

Even as it is readying wards and hospitals for children in anticipation of the third Covid-19 wave, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has also set up a child helpline. Interestingly, the child help will be run by school children. Officials claimed it will be the first of its kind initiative in the state.

“The objective behind setting up the child helpline is to remove the fear from the minds of the children,” said Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil.

On Thursday, the civic chief held a meeting of principals, teachers and parents of eight schools. The meeting was also attended by sixteen students from class 7 to 9.

At the meeting, the commissioner said students should email questions relating to COVID-19 to [email protected] “They should provide their questionnaires to their class teachers…The PCMC will also come up with a set of questions. Those students who will run the child helpline will be given information and training about Covid and its treatment,” the civic chief said.

Among those present at the meeting included Additional Municipal Commissioner Vikas Dhakane, YCMH dean Dr Rajendra Wable, Sagar Bandalkar, Jabbin Sayyed, Pramod Sadul, Anil Gaikwad, Vaishali Nanaware, Parag Munde and Sanjeev Wakhare.

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Dhakane said the child help will be run for a limited time in a day so that it becomes convenient to handle it. “We will also make arrangements to ensure that children can handle the helpline from their homes and not come to PCMC office,” he said.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the third wave, the PCMC administration has also fixed responsibilities on different officials. “This is being done to avoid any confusion when the third wave lands and ensure effective coordination,” the PCMC administration said.

“In view of the possible third wave, we have made arrangements for admitting patients in YCM hospital, Jijamata hospital and Gharkul Covid Care Centre where beds have been reserved for children. We have also set up a Task Force. Besides, we have also directed private hospitals to make necessary arrangements for admitting children,” the municipal commissioner said.

According to the PCMC administration, assistant municipal commissioner Balasaheb Khandekar has been asked to look after Covid War Room. He will be the chief coordinator. “He will coordinate with all War Rooms in the city, zonal officials and medical officers. He will also have to monitor the rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests conducted in the city,” the administration added.

Assistant Municipal Commissioner Prashant Joshi will be the information collection coordinator. “Through ‘Mee Jababdar’ app, he will collect information from testing labs, Covid Care Centres and hospitals. He will be responsible for updating information on Corona portal and ICMR portal.”

Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sandeep Khot will be the contact tracing coordinator. “His team will be responsible for tracing Covid positive patients, their address, mobile number and other information. He will have to ensure that 100 per cent contact tracing is done of those who came in contact with the infected person. He will have to update the information on the app.”

Another Deputy Municipal Commissioner Mangesh Chitale will be the coordinator for creating public awareness. “His team will be responsible for putting up flex and hoardings to create awareness about COVID. He will have to coordinate with all hospitals and zonal offices to create awareness. His will team will have to coordinate with all civic departments, government offices, media partners, NGOs and people’s representatives,” the PCMC administration said.

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