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HomeBlogIndia’s humanitarian and health crisis spurs medical community response

India’s humanitarian and health crisis spurs medical community response

By: Sigal Atzmon
India’s humanitarian and health crisis spurs medical community response

India’s Covid-19 crisis almost defies belief. As a medical company, we are doing what we can, in our own small way, to help alleviate some of the pressure.

Until April, it was hard to imagine that things could get much worse with Covid-19. Then a devastating new wave struck India.


The dystopian scenes, which have unfolded since then, are like something from a disaster movie: except that in this case there’s nothing fictional about them at all.


There are quite a number of people who cannot bear to follow what’s happening in the country right now. It’s just too upsetting to read about or watch after a year when their own lives have been turned upside down and they were hoping that vaccines would offer a quick way out. That desire to just get “back to normal” is strong and understandable.


Yet others find that they cannot take their eyes off the chaos and suffering as India’s health system collapses. That’s not because they enjoy the schadenfreude, but because this feels like one of those times, much like the 911 attacks in the US, which stands out from constant news flow and imprint itself on the soul. 


Plenty of governments, particularly those in Europe, are also well aware that they too could have ended up in a similar situation had they chosen to carry on listening to anti-lockdown voices during December and January. What’s happening in India shows that it really doesn’t take much for an overstretched healthcare system to fall apart.


In the UK, for example, it’s been reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, only reluctantly swung in favour of another lockdown after being told that spiralling case numbers would result in the army being called in to protect hospitals from desperate families who couldn’t get beds for their sick loved ones.


Such scenes are now unfolding in India as hospitals run out of beds, oxygen and life-saving drugs. What makes the situation so tragic is that so many lives could have been saved had people had access to the right care. That’s still the case now.


At Medix we saw this first hand as staff members started losing family members to the disease. We have a growing presence in the country and decided to act to support our clients and the country.


We’re brought our global expertise to bear by setting up a tele-consultation platform that our corporate clients can offer their staff for free over the coming month. It went live at the end of April.


If an eligible Covid patient is trying to manage their illness at home, they have two main options.


They can fill in a live digital covid form questionnaire, which asks patients about their symptoms and asks them to include some of their vital readings if they are able to take them: oxygen saturation, temperature, breaths-per-minute and so on.


The second option is to call the helpline directly to tele-consult with a doctor or nurse. We have mobilised doctors and senior medical specialists from across our global network to support the local team on the ground.


They are also asked to include details of any existing conditions like diabetes, or heart disease and finally what existing medications they are on. An algorithm then analyses the responses, enabling us to triage all calls by medical severity and urgency.


Sufferers with low saturation levels, or comorbidities will automatically be prioritised. The next stage is utilising the prescription service we have put in place to ease symptoms, prevent further deterioration and get patients on the road to recovery.


Active medical and psychological tele-support is what we’ve begun to deliver. That’s because for many of us, the most frightening footage of all is of ill patients left abandoned outside hospitals, on the streets, or in their homes because the medical services are overrun. That fear of not being able to get help when we need it is one that cuts through to the heart of all of us even if we’re currently sitting in a country where Covid-19 case numbers are falling and our health services are functioning. 


Medix is a small company but we, and many others across the medical world, are trying to do our bit to plug some of the holes and address this tsunami of suffering. India has a massive population touching 1.4 billion. But every life saved is someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, or loved one.


And there are reasons to derive some glimmers of hope amid this dark period. India’s is the world’s vaccine manufacturer and while supplies remain extremely tight, they are being rolled out and the country’s has an impressive technological system in place to get people registered and jabbed. We can beat this awful virus.

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