Karnataka

Volunteers from around the world rally to help tackle COVID-19 in Karnataka

People wait outside an oxygen production unit at Peenya Industrial Area in Bengaluru, after many hospitals ran out of oxygen and beds with ventilators. File photo for representation.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Doctors living across the world — all alumni of the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) from the 1992 batch — have now banded together with a coalition of volunteer groups to offer end-to-end COVID-19 management for patients in Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru.

While the Karnataka COVID-19 Volunteers Team (KCVT), with over 500 members, has set up a helpline (080-47166115) which counsels patients, refers them to doctors for tele-consultation, helps in home management and to find hospital beds, Mercy Mission is operating two COVID-19 care centres and has a tie-up with the HBS Hospital in Shivajinagar for critical care. While the helpline and tele-consultation with doctors is available for patients across the State, other on ground facilities are in the city.

“There are over 50 doctors, most of them from BMCRI 1992 batch, and many living in the U.S. and the U.K., who are offering free tele-consultation for COVID-19 patients. I have been doing this for a week now. Most cases are manageable at home. What patients need is guidance and some confidence,” said Umesh Nareppa, a senior cardiac surgeon at Vikram Hospital in the city, and an BMCRI 1992 batch alumnus.

Fund raising

The doctors abroad have also raised funds to the tune of around ₹2 crore and sent 250 oxygen concentrators to the city for patients who need them during home isolation.

Another BMCRI alumnus, H.V. Vasu, who is coordinating the KCVT, said the helpline also has over 100 trained counsellors and will follow patients through the entire course of the infection, advising them with course of treatment, diet, tele-consultation with doctors and try to organise oxygen, hospital beds, if need be. “We have helped book more than 200 beds in the last few days, all through diligent follow-up with the civic body,” he said.

Meanwhile, the KCVT and BMC-92 have partnered with Mercy Mission, another network of NGOs is also running helplines organising oxygen, beds, food and even cremating COVID-19 patients, and for hospital infrastructure. “We have a tie-up with Al Ameen Hospital and HBS Hospital, both in Shivajinagar. While we refer mild to moderate patients to Al Ameen Hospital, we are partnering with HBS for critical care. Mercy Mission is also looking at partnering with CSI hospital, also in the same area, for which talks are in initial stages. Meanwhile, Mercy Mission has partnered with a hospital in Hassan,” said Ali Shariff, who is coordinating these efforts. Patients who need hospital care are being referred to these hospitals.

Mercy Mission is also looking to reactivate the over 40 on ground triaging centres it operated last year in the city’s slums, with focus on vaccination this time. “There is vaccine hesitancy in the slums and we need to send in motivators who have earlier worked in these slums to get people to take the jab. Vaccine coverage is inequitable and low in these pockets. Once we are assured of vaccine supply, we will begin these centres, where we will also take up triaging for COVID-19 cases,” said Mr. Shariff.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 9:18:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/volunteers-from-around-the-world-rally-to-help-tackle-covid-19-in-karnataka/article34570344.ece

Next Story