Published: 15th June 2021
Emergency or not, this portal will help you with all COVID-related queries in Hyderabad
For today's Daily Positivity, we talk about covidhelphyd.in, a portal backed by a slew of volunteers that is helping Hyderabadis find verified resources for beds, mental health consellors and more
The second wave might seem like it has ebbed, but least we forget, there are several volunteers still out there who are very much at work. Today, we recollect the services of two such Hyderabad-based entities — Worldview Education Services, the EdTech platform most popularly known for organising MUNs, and Surge Impact Foundation, a social enterprise accelerator. The former completed building the portal in question a week or two before April 2021 and the latter started using it by the end of April.
While last year was all about distributing rations and sending migrants home, this year Surge Impact Foundation had to deal with grief and despair of a different kind which was much more fast-paced. So along with their helpline, they made the best use of covidhelphyd.in, developed and managed by Worldview Education Services. One glance at the portal and you'll realise that it offers all the support one might need. From information about hospital beds (with and without oxygen), doctors, ambulance services, food and the current status of Telangana's caseload. What strikes us the most is their list of mental health counsellors and a way for enthusiasts to register and volunteer. Everything is verified by about 550 volunteers.
The process is simple, you can either avail all the verified information on the portal and make the most of it or call/WhatsApp on their helpline and the volunteers will hand-hold you through it all. "Every query is immediately assigned to Volunteer Leads who, in turn, assign it to volunteers. What ensues is multiple back and forth between the volunteers and the patients' point of contact until the case is closed," informs Co-Founder of Surge Impact Foundation Raj Janagam. The volunteers help verify the information once again, for example, ensuring that the bed is truly free and pass on the information. This time, most of the cases were time-sensitive which led to the stakes being higher. Sometimes, multiple requests come in, which required more than one volunteer to handle the case.
In case of emergencies, the portal has an Emergency Request Form which fastracks the entire process. Non-emergency services, like food, are also quite popular on the portal. While the employees of Surge Impact Foundation have been the drivers, they have verification groups who ensure that the information which goes on to the portal is verified and if it isn't, it clearly says so.
Another point to note, which Raj informs us about, is that the mental health of volunteers is also taken into account. "Every day, at about 10.30, we conduct an online Wellness Circle. Through it, we promote a culture of mindfulness, teach helpful breathing exercises and encourage volunteers to talk about what they are going through. We have counsellors available for the volunteers too," informs Raj. The sessions are helmed by Co-founders of non-profit organisation Rubaroo, Monisha Vemavarapu and Neha Swain. An initiative that takes care of its volunteers' mental health at a time like this definitely deserves a hat tip.
This is important because the volunteers work around the clock, from 6 am in the morning to 2 am in the night. On busy days, they would handle 200 to 250 cases. "Once, we even arranged a bed for a case in Vijayawada with the help of the health department. It took us eight hours," explains Raj. They also managed the 24x7 helpline and portal with the help of international volunteers from the US and Australia. "Because of the portal, we feel like if and when the third wave arrives, we are much better equipped to deal with it. This has been a learning lesson," says Raj and concludes.
During these dark times, a spark of hope and a shot of positivity can make all the difference in the world. That's what our new series Daily Positivity+ is all about. If you know someone who is doing their best to spread hope during this COVID pandemic, do tell us about them at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp us at +91 73580 29990