To resolve public concerns about coronavirus, nearly 180 doctors across Maharashtra have set up helplines in 30 districts of the state, where people can reach them and have their fears addressed.
Health officials said most of the doctors who have come forward are fourth-year MBBS students, some of whom are preparing for UPSC exams. “These doctors approached us, asking if they could set up a helpline to address coronavirus-related queries. We asked them to go ahead, as this initiative will help many people in the outskirts of Maharashtra who are living in fear of contracting the virus,” he said.
Dr Avani Mishra, a fourth-year medical student said, their aim was to simply to make people aware of the disease and give them the right information, for which the helpline number was a good option. "We want to make more people aware of the disease and that’s the reason for this initiative. We are ready to serve in every way in the fight against corona,” she said.
Dr Gokul Rakh, who is preparing for his UPSC exams along with MBBS, said since the outbreak, myths too have begun proliferating, to the extent that people are in fear even if they have the seasonal flu. “We are 180 doctors who are active 24x7 on the helplines established for 30 districts across Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Vidarbha, Amravati, Akola, Buldana and others,” he said.
All the doctors have provided their personal numbers and are mostly receiving calls from people suffering from cold, cough and fever. “Based on the symptoms, we further advise them and if necessary, we recommend them to the nearest district hospitals,” Dr Rakh said.