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WhatsApp COVID-19 relief initiatives; check details

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State governments using WhatsApp’s platform to streamline their efforts and offer a repository of verified information segregated state-wise:

Ground Report | New Delhi: WhatsApp COVID-19 initiatives; The pandemic has brought to light the power of humanity to battle a crisis as grave as this. As India now battles the second wave of the pandemic, volunteer groups, NGOs, and other civic actors from across the country are coming together to help citizens. Their aim of reaching the farthest corners of the country to provide aid to the needy has been backed by technology.

Platforms like WhatsApp have been instrumental in connecting these initiatives to the people in need and providing the required resources, and WhatsApp’s business API has helped them to amplify their services. Some initiatives that have successfully made use of WhatsApp during these unprecedented circumstances are listed below, get in touch with these initiatives as well.

COVIDAsha: Using a dedicated WhatsApp number, +91 76765 22535, COVIDAsha is helping people connect with verified suppliers or medical resources. Comprising 500+ volunteers – including paramedic students, COVIDAsha is extending its services to 65 cities, available in 8 languages, it has alliances with 20,000+ authentic suppliers as well as renowned medicare providers PharmEasy, StanPlus, VMEDO-Healthcare Emergency system.

The aim of this initiative is to ensure that quality healthcare reaches all those in need.

Covid Meals For India: Celebrity Chef Saransh Goila’s initiative CovidMealsForIndia.com is easing the availability of food to patients. Users can send a WhatsApp message on the number +91 8882891316, and follow the steps to find a meal around them or register themselves as a meal provider to further help others.

Indiashield: A group of volunteers who are determined to find and connect people to accurate resources through WhatsApp groups, Indiashield by EDGE is a helping hand that has aided people with locating critical medical resources in their city. IndiaSheild’s WhatsApp bot is available on the number – +91 90823 28320.

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Robinhood Army: Robinhood Army’s presence in the country is already strong. During the current scenario, their WhatsApp helpline number +91 8971966164 is helping to supply food to patients by connecting them to volunteers and also helping people sign up as volunteers for senior citizens vaccination on the seniors portal. The WhatsApp chatbot also guides volunteers who want to come forward to join RHA or volunteer with #SeniorPatrol. 

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X Ray Setu: Testing is critical to help tackle this pandemic, but the rural infrastructure is not well developed and these services of testing and tracking have been a challenge for the rural populace. ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) to address this critical need launched XraySetu, an AI-driven solution for the early intervention of COVID-19 cases across India with Chest Xray interpretation over WhatsApp.

With a click on the ‘Try the Free XraySetu Beta’ button, a person is redirected to another page, wherein an individual can engage with the WhatsApp-based chatbot or the doctor. A WhatsApp message to +91 8046163838 to start the XraySetu service, is followed by a click of the picture of the patient’s X-ray and gives a 2-page automated diagnostics with annotated images in a few minutes. It gives the probability of the COVID-19 contraction and a report that highlights a localized heatmap for a quick check by a doctor.

State governments using WhatsApp’s platform to streamline their efforts and offer a repository of verified information segregated state-wise:

Odisha COVID Response Helpline: WhatsApp chatbot to help citizens search for a vaccine slot, get updated info on beds and oxygen availability, and keep up to date with the latest information in the state of Odisha. Available in English and Odia, the bot was made accessible by sending ‘Hi’ to the number +91 9337929000 on WhatsApp and access all information relevant to vaccines, medical equipment, and resources.  

KMC Chatbot: WhatsApp chatbot launched in collaboration with the state health department of Kolkata, to help book vaccination appointments. A “Hi” to +91 8335999000, and the bot takes you through a step by step process of booking a vaccine slot. What’s unique about this chatbot is that it helps eliminate waiting time, something that’s been a challenge of sorts for vaccination drives across the country. 

DC Gurugram Helpline: Gurugram District Administration launched a dedicated WhatsApp COVID-19 helpline to provide citizens access to a central repository of all COVID-19 resources. Available in Hindi and English, citizens could send ‘Hi’ to the number ‎+91 9643277788 on WhatsApp and can directly connect to the helpline, for free.

In the span of a mere few weeks, from the 5th of May till the 28th of May, the DC Gurugram WhatsApp chatbot has successfully been able to provide critical information and act as a central repository of all COVID-19 resources to more than 5600 users. With over 431 requests for medicines, 277 families being connected to meal providers and aided 716 RT PCR test requests, processed.

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The helpline closed with over 162 requests for ambulance services and close to 632 doctor consultations (both free + paid). With access to the DC Gurugram helpline on WhatsApp, more than 2687 requests for hospital beds were closed along with their registration process. Similarly, for oxygen refilling, the WhatsApp chatbot processed more than 69 requests (added 13th of may) till now. 

Additionally, these platforms also make use of WhatsApp for COVID-19 relief efforts:

My Gov Vaccine locator: MyGovIndia, the government of India’s citizen engagement platform, launched a WhatsApp chatbot MyGov Corona Helpdesk now lets you find the nearest COVID-19 vaccination centres. A very handy chatbot when you just need information like the nearest center quickly and do not want to wait in a queue for regular phone helplines to become available.

MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot, users need to save the number +919013151515 and send a “Hi” to access all the information they need. 
NCW Expectant mothers’ helpline: WhatsApp with the National Commission for Women, launched the 24×7 hour WhatsApp helpline number with the intent to provide medical assistance to expecting mothers, amidst the pandemic.

A WhatsApp message to +91 9354954224 helplines, functional round the clock helps those in need access the medical assistance required. Since the launch of the NCW WhatsApp helpline for expectant women, NCW has been able to provide assistance to 758 expectant mothers across the country. 

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