Volunteers keeping the spirit of humanity alive in city

They leave no stone unturned to help those infected

As the city battles the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteer groups have sprung into action in offering support to those infected. From providing tele-counselling and facilitating tele-consultation with doctors to assisting in getting plasma donors and information on hospital beds, several groups are keeping the spirit of humanity alive with their effort.

“We have not seen such an unprecedented flood of calls for COVID-19 related queries in the past one year. We are getting nearly 100 calls daily,” says Chandan Achary, co-founder of Vizag Volunteers, a Visakhapatnam-based non-governmental organisation.

Plasma donation

The NGO was founded by Karnatakapu Satish in March last year, two days after the nationwide lockdown came into force, with the primary objective to help the poor and the needy affected by the lockdown. Vizag Volunteers brings a whole of information on a single platform on their website (www.vizagvolunteers.org) .

These include availability of hospital facilities, essential drugs, emergency phone numbers for tele-consultation of doctors, free and paid services for oxygen cylinder suppliers and rentals, home sample collection, testing, doorstep food delivery services for home quarantined patients and plasma donation requests.

“Our focus currently is on plasma donation and tele-consultation,” says Mr. Chandan. For plasma donation, Vizag Volunteers has tied up with the AS Raja Blood Bank in the city and works in close association with the Health Department for getting the data of COVID recovered persons. “We reach out to the recovered once they are eligible and counsel and encourage them to donate plasma. One of our main policies is to never connect a donor with a receiver. In the process, we have been able to eliminate the black marketing of plasma in the city that existed in the initial months of the pandemic,” he adds.

People from across shores, too, have formed groups to provide support to such times of crisis.

Ramya Janapareddy, Nihar Yerubandi, Ramya Kancharla, Nikhil Rampalli and Padmaja Bevara have all come together from different corners of the world to form the group Covid Help Pan India.

Right from sourcing information on home ICU set-ups to assisting patients in connecting with doctors and hospitals, the group has been active across social media networks. “We follow a standard format of information which has all the essential information of the patient mentioned. We forward the information in our networks to find any lead for the requirement of the patient. The information also helps us get a fair idea about the current condition of the patient which we share in our networks,” says Ramya, who is based in the US currently.

A 12-member team of Young Indians COVID Taskforce is actively working on cases for oxygen beds, ventilators and plasma donors. “The requests for ventilators are pouring in. But it’s important to celebrate the recovery stories. We have helped about 100 patients, including five pregnant women, and organised nearly 30 plasma donations,” says Ananya Gopalshetty of CII-Young Indians.

Other organisations like JCI (Junior Chamber International) Vizag are updating information on their websites by providing contacts of service providers, helpline numbers of Andhra Pradesh and other statistics under one platform.

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