Dial-a-Doctor: From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, 350 top NRK specialists available on call
Srinagar: If you are ill and do not want to visit a clinic or a hospital amid the Covid-19 threat, call toll free number 18008892729.
Welcome to Dial-a-Doctor. Around 350 doctors across the globe, mostly Kashmiris, are available for consultations free of cost.
“Though this free service was started for the Valley residents last year in August, dial-a-doctor is now treating patients across India. Around 99 percent of doctors available for consultations are Kashmiris residing in different countries like the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Canada, etc,” general secretary of the ‘Ehsaas Trust International’ Hakeem Muhammad Ilyas told The Kashmir Monitor.
Since this is a humanitarian service, ‘Ehsaas Trust has received calls from outside Jammu and Kashmir too. “People from Jammu, North India, Goa, Bangalore, and other places in South India called us too,” he said
He said the service has been started with an aim to treat patients through telephonic consultations at a time when people, by and large, were avoiding visits to doctors amid the Covid-19 threat.
“There was a threat due to Covid. Till December end, we received 6742 calls out of which 2296 were Covid related. People were scared that they might have got infected and a lot of depression had crept in. People were unable to move out to hospitals and we ended up counseling patients. But, we also received 3860 routine medical calls and we intend to continue this service beyond Covid,” he said. “Besides, we received 253 routine surgery calls, 127 sub-specialty medicine calls, 206 sub-specialty surgery calls, and 1314 follow-up calls.”
Ilyas, however, said reaching out to the people especially in the rural areas was a challenge as they were still unaware of the service.
“It is a big challenge, but we are trying our best to tell people about this service. We even contacted imams so that announcements could be made in Friday sermons. Our doctors are dedicated and an average call lasts around 20 minutes. Moreover, dial a doctor service is available 24×7. We have a control room where initially, junior doctors take a call before referring the patient to a specialist,” he said.
Syed Tabasum Geelani, trustee of the ‘Ehsaas Trust International’, said the service had mainly been started with the support of Kashmiri doctors working in foreign countries with an aim to help people back home. He said mental health specialists were also available even as cases of people having mental health issues were on a rise during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We have doctors from all specialties. This is something like running a super specialty hospital virtually. As you know, going to the hospitals these days is a high risk where the virus can be contracted….in fact, many cases can be solved at home only,” he said.
Geelani said the service will also be beneficial for the Covid-19 positive patients under home quarantine.