Netizens harness social media to help Covid-19 affected citizens
- Over 1000 youths have already joined the 'Covid-19 Helpdesk' started by Presidency University Students Council, a network on Facebook to share updates on matters like hospital beds and oxygen cylinders
With Covid-19 second wave creating an unprecedented situation, people from various walks of life in West Bengal ranging from students to celebrities, teachers to media professionals and myriad other spheres are sharing on the social media updates of beds available in hospitals, availability of oxygen cylinders and plasma donors.
Over 1000 youths have already joined the 'Covid-19 Helpdesk' started by Presidency University Students Council, a network on Facebook to share updates on matters like hospital beds and oxygen cylinders for corona patients in their homes requiring immediate treatment.
Presidency Students Council member Debnil Paul said on Monday that the network is providing updated verified information and has asked its members to share as much details as possible in order to help people in this hour of crisis.
"We the students of Presidency University, Kolkata have come up with the initiative to provide up-to-date and verified information on availability of resources necessary to fight Covid-19, focussing on availability of hospital beds, oxygen cylinder, ambulance, plasma banks/donors, medicine, food, quarantine centres, safe homes and more," the council said in a statement.
One post on Monday inquired about the availability of hospital bed for a 31-year old Covid-19 positive person who has high temperature. The Council informed the person about a private hospital in New Town besides the telemedicine numbers of the state government.
Other posts provide information on availability of medical oxygen cylinders in different pockets of south Kolkata and Hooghly district with prompt feedback giving verified details of individuals, social organisations and medical facilities having life saving drugs in stock.
Food for the affected is not forgotten. Two posts in the network give details about home delivery of food in certain south Kolkata localities for the quarantined families infected by the virus.
Among the celebrities who have joined in to help the victims of the pandemic is national award winning film director Srijit Mukherji, who shared a number of posts to help the affected people.
Srijit shared posts about availability of oxygen cylinder in Hooghly district and Kolkata, besides in cities like Indore, Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Delhi.
He also shared details about Covid-19 medicine supplier in the city, list of nurses for coronavirus patients, toll free number of the distributor for the all important Remdesivir for patients with acute respiratory problem as the virus is known to affect the throat and lungs first.
Actor Parambrata Chatterjee retweeted on his microblogging account Srijit's post on availability of oxygen.
The actor-director also shared a tweet by popular singer-composer Anupam Roy about availability of hospital doctors to treat corona patients and oxygen supply in Kolkata.
He also promised help to a netizen who made urgent pleas for her 38-year-old relative whose oxygen saturation was below 80.
"I just shared the details on my timeline in the social media. I thought if it is of any use to the needy at this hour," said Srijit, the maker of 'Raj Kahini' and 'Vincida' among others, when contacted.
"We welcome such initiatives. In the present situation the government cannot do everything nor can private healthcare facilities. Every citizen should chip in to tide over the crisis," a senior health department official said.
Media professionals, students, college teachers and people from different walks of life have also separately formed two Facebook groups - 'Covid-19 resources' for people across the state and 'Resource Pool" for people in certain localities of Hooghly and North 24 Parganas districts.
'Covid-19 resources' formed by journalists of different media houses and portals is posting 24x7 updates about availability of beds in a Covid facility in the state and even in places like Gurgaon.
"The Facebook group was formed three days ago and has succeded in finding hospital beds for the corona affected even in Siliguri. The group has also traced and facilitated oxygen for the needy," said a media person of the group.
"We cannot live individually in the present situation, we need to hold each other's hands. While we do office work during election time, some others are burning the midnight oil to scrutinise every contact detail, the requirement of the affected person and provide the information to the family of the coronavirus patient immediately," she said.