Chennai

Volunteers, Corpn. reach out to those under quarantine

From loneliness to procuring essentials, 80 volunteers of the Loyola College and the Network of Professional Social Workers have dealt with it all in the last few days while working with Greater Chennai Corporation.

The team began working with the corporation initially to make phone calls and check on persons who have been home quarantined. Volunteers said that many under home quarantine told them that they felt isolated and worried. “On Saturday, a volunteer called a 65-year-old woman, who was under home quarantine after a visit to the U.S. She said that she was feeling lonely on her birthday. All the volunteers in the telecounselling centre sang her a birthday song on the phone,” said Gladston Xavier, Associate Professor, Social Work Department, Loyola College, who co-ordinates the centre.

In another instance, Mr. Xavier recounted how a senior citizen couple they had called to say that they had run out of essentials and were being ostracised in their neighborhood for having a home quarantine sticker outside their house. “Our volunteers were able to procure essentials they needed and drop it with them,” he said.

When volunteers call to check with people, a social diagnosis is first made based on how they felt — whether they were lonely, upset or anxious. If they had any medical queries or need assistance, their calls were forwarded to a medical team.

“Through the last one week, people have been happy that we’re reaching out. Senior citizens who are in the city without their family members or those under home quarantine and living alone say that they feel reassured when we talk to them,” said Julius Nicholas, a final year student from Loyola College who is working at the telecounselling centre.

Dr. Pradeep Selvaraj, COVID-19 Quarantine Monitoring Officer with the Corporation, said as on April 4, they were following up with over 12,500 people in the city who were under quarantine. “While we are reaching out to them and ensuring that they are doing okay, people from the city who are in need of any psycho-social support can call in and speak to mental health professionals or other volunteers who are a part of our tele-counselling team,” he said.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has responded to an average of 5,000 calls a day since the start of their tele-counselling centres on March 30. Persons can call on 4612 2300 if they need any assistance.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 6:30:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/volunteers-corpn-reach-out-to-those-under-quarantine/article31265028.ece

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