Doctors across the world reach out to patients

Advice on COVID-19 management is just a call away for patients and frontline warriors

Mahesh is a resident of this revenue division headquarters town located on the borders with Karnataka and Maharashtra. Few weeks ago his entire family, including his pregnant wife, tested positive. Almost all hospitals refused to admit her for treatment for COVID-19 due to the risks involved.

Mr. Mahesh approached his friend P. Sudhakar Naik, a doctor by training and an officer in the Income Tax department, for help. The pregnant woman was admitted in a hospital at Hyderabad where she was treated and she has since returned home.

After discharge from hospital the doctors have been in monitoring the health of the patients and advising them on medications to be taken, through telemedicine.

Learning from Mr. Mahesh’s experience, Dr. Sudhakar Naik started ‘COVID Help Sangareddy’ WhatsApp group in which expert doctors and officers were part of the activity. Dr. Sudhakar roped in his friends who like him studied in Andhra Pradesh Residential Junior Colleges (APRJC) and later become doctors. They formed a group and connected with patients through a helpline number.

Dr. Sudhakar has been able to get on board 50 doctors — 10 from UK and 40 from the USA — who are reaching out to the corona patients and advising them on the disease management and treatment.

Recently, the volunteer group organised a two-day virtual programme — ‘Sarvodaya Expert Talk for Covid Warriors’ — which was addressed by a doctor in the USA who is originally from Hyderabad — Karthik Rao Polsani. Dr. Polsani interacted with doctors and other experts and shared his knowledge of ‘Management of COVID 19 for frontline doctors’, during the talk he focused on the basics of the treatment and the best practices that are being followed.

On the second day of the programme, an orientation programme was organised for staff nurses, auxiliary nurse midwife (ANMs) and Aasha workers in dealing with corona patients. They were given tips on how to identify patients at an early stage, isolate them and treat them. The topic ‘Leading from the front – Basics for handling COVID- 19 for frontline workers (ANMs, Aasha and AWW)’ was organised by another doctor, a native of Mancherial, currently practising in Indiana in the USA — Samatha Madavarapu. Dr. Madhavarapu interacted with participants and shared her knowledge. She has been in constant touch with the ground staff in her village and guiding them in handling the patients.

Dr. Sudhakar and his group, in association with the district administration launched the telemedicine helpline — 72072 18203 — on May 21. The group has organised a panel of 29 doctors who reach out to the patients through the helpline.

“We are trying to bridge the gap of between patients and expert doctors across the world through telemedicine. Doctors settled at various places are ready to help the needy. Attending three or four calls a day is no a problem for them,” Dr. Sudhakar Naik told The Hindu.

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