New Delhi, 22nd September 2021: In response to the enduring pandemic, Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has launched a pan-India telemedicine helpline to provide 24x7 free and confidential medical advice for patients experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. The helpline has been set up in response to the overwhelming demand placed on existing health infrastructures in India, and is targeted to support those patients who require medical attention and are unable to access care.
MSF doctors and nurses will be available on the toll-free helpline 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and will conduct consultations, be able to issue e-prescriptions, provide information about infection prevention measures and ensure that appropriate follow up of all patients is made. The service also has provision to link callers to psychological support in case of need.
In the first month of activity, the helpline has received over 500 calls from 20 states, reflecting the multiple languages that the telemedicine team are able to deliver support in.
“*Adequate healthcare services aren’t available in all parts of the country, which means many people are excluded, particularly during surges of the pandemic where the health inequities that are already present in India are manifold increased. We believe everyone should have access to medical care and the helpline will strive to provide equitable, affordable and accessible COVID-19 related consultation to those who need it most. It is very difficult to predict what form the next wave of COVID-19 will take, however we believe that it is critical to be as prepared as possible in order to mitigate the catastrophic scenes witnessed during the last wave. *” said Dr. Prince Mathew, Regional Head of Mission- Asia, MSF.
Arun Jindal a resident of Rajasthan who called the helpline for a consultation said “*I am happy with the services provided through the helpline, I would highly recommend it to other people. The medical team has good soft skills”*.
HOW TO ACCESS THE TELEMEDICINE SERVICE?
·Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 can call the toll free number 1800 309 4144 when an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system will guide them. Then a nurse will make an initial assessment of the patient.
·Where appropriate the nurse will refer the patient to a doctor as the next step.
·The doctor will assess, advise and will provide an electronic prescription where required.
·The nurse will schedule a follow-up with the patient to monitor the condition
The MSF Telemedicine toll free number is 1800 309 4144.
Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Its actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of neutrality and impartiality. In 1999 MSF was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for its “pioneering humanitarian work on several continents”. In 1996, MSF was awarded the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development. MSF is currently working in Kashmir, Bihar, Manipur, Maharashtra, Delhi and Chhattisgarh. For more details, please click here.