Young Volunteers in Bhopal build up a Covid-19 Helpdesk in Government Hospitals

Covid-19 Helpdesk
Image Credits: The Optimist Citizen

Regardless any profit these youth are updating families on the health status of Covid patients or helping them say their last goodbyes, Samvaad Covid-19 Helpldesk is a humane initiative that helps provide some respite to the families facing grave times.

Deed of kindness

Kenbin, a teenager with Down syndrome, contracted covid  in October. His parents, who call out especially from Itarsi, admitted him to Hamidia hospital located  in Bhopal to seek therapeutic. His mother was engulfed with terribles thoughts of losing and keeping herself calm without knowing what was going to happen was getting difficult. She reached out to Samvaad Covid-19 Helpline number, the office of which was already situated in Hamidia. The Samvaad come up with the team who were willing to help her. They kept her updated on Kenbin’s state and counselled her as well. His son recently got discharged and is doing quite well. Kebin’s family was grateful for the attempt of the kindhearted volunteers who workedpersistent to help them stay in contact with each other.

Matter of Isolation

In between of tremendous second wave of covid-19 pandemic globally,the aforementioned anecdote is notunusual in hospitals these days.It left person with deafening anxity when you are unable to communicate with your beloved and their kin can be extremely isolating. Furthermore ,this virus make someone more depressed and make their mental health suffer more which make a huge impact on health . The presence of geared up doctors and nurses can feel mechanical and intimidating to a patient who already has a fearful state of mind. Therefore, keeping a sense of human contact in the middle of the patient and his/her family, however virtual, becomes all important. The volunteers at SamvaadCovid-19 Helpline are doing just that.

In the beginning ,Rachna Dhingara pop up with this notion who was already working as a social worker for Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims before the pandemic struck.She was able to set up this helpline in a small office in Hamidia Hospital with the students of Bhopal School of Social Sciences. The Covid-19 Helpline keeps people updated with the health status of their family members, arrange video/audio calls for moderate and critical Covid patients, and procure information for those seeking bed availability in this hospital. Samvaad serves as a blessing for approximately 60% of economically disadvantaged people who are admitted to Hamidia’s Covid wards.

They split Samvaad Covid-19 Helpline into two shits first from 8 AM till 2 PM and the second from 2 PM till 8 PM.Rachan’s team have set up few tablets and mobile phones to fillthe gap between covid patient and their family.Whenever a relative calls, they connect their call from their office with the ward in which the patient is present.“We try to wait for at least 5-6 calls to come in, as we cannot constantly disturb doctors who are already working so diligently,” says Rachna. For video conferencing purposes, they have been allotted certain slots in which families can make video calls. To date, the team has corresponded with 1543 audio calls and 258 video calls.

Obstacles Faced

Plan of action has faced its own set of hurdles while trying functionin a government-run facility. One of the biggest setbacks is the insufficient number of tablets and smartphones which are crucial in the proper functioning of this initiative. Apart from this, bureaucratic kerfuffle hinders their operations as the hospital staff sometimes does not share important patient details which could otherwise help the families.

Enthusiasm of Volunteers

Nevertheless , these mundane setbacks and challenges never put a damper on the spirits of the volunteers who are trying to make a difference in their community.“This has been the greatest learning experience of all. If we all set aside our differences and look past our personal struggles, we can make a great deal of difference with compassion and understanding, in jarring times such as these,” says Sana Azhar, a volunteer.


SamvaadCovid-19 Helplinehope that other hospitals across Madhya Pradesh would take up this program as a model and introduce these measures on their premises as well. The work these people are doing is no less than that of a fighter. Their motto- Covid-19 takes people away from their families, Samvaad helps them stay connected, seems to fit perfectly in this scenario.

How to connect with SamvaadCovid-19 Helpline

The team is ensuring all the precautions and maintaining a safe environment for the volunteers. If you wish to help them with time or resources, reach out to them at 9111647543, 7021789156