A COVID-19 Tele Counselling Center set up by the Greater Chennai Corporation in association with social workers from Loyola College has been offering support to those home quarantined since the lockdown.
The initiative involving doctors and social workers has been offering service from 8 am to 8 pm and has made over 22,000 calls to over 24,000-odd home quarantined air passengers and other high-risk category people.
Besides a few domestic travellers who have been identified for their travel to hotspots of coronavirus, the center keeps a track of those international passengers who have been asked to be in quarantine.
Dr Pradeep Selvaraj, COVID 19 quarantine monitoring officer at the Tele Counselling Center, explained, “Be it an air passenger or a social spreader, the double incubation period is of great importance, as noted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Among them, we are also keeping a tab on those with co-morbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, heart disease, who are vulnerable to the infection.”
Adding that special attention is given to those above 60 years and below 10 years, Dr Selvaraj added, “Every day, a doctor (23 of them in total) call the respective passengers and ask for any symptoms such as fever, cough, breathing difficulties and diarrhea. There is also a team of nurses who deliver the monthly dose of medicines for those with co-morbid conditions.”
Under the program, every doctor has been assigned a closed user group (CUG) device that helps them stay in touch with the line list of people they are responsible for via WhatsApp.
Masters’ students of Loyola College and social workers from the Network of Professional Social Workers are also a part of the Tele Counselling Center.
Gladston Xavier, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, Loyola College Chennai, said that around 90 of them (students and teachers) have been trained for the counseling center.
“They (students and teachers) counsel those who require it in the time of crisis and also for suicide prevention. When the volunteers talk to the people under quarantine, and if they find them having a few symptoms, they immediately link them up with the doctors at the center. If the need is for food or groceries, the respective corporation assigned officer is contacted to further help the home quarantine person,” Prof. Xavier said.
Recently, Tamil Nadu Minister for Municipal Administration, SP Velumani visited the center and also suggested a similar set up in districts like Madurai, Thanjavur and Tirupur.
Adding that there’s no dearth of volunteers, Xavier added, “We will begin working on setting up the centers in some days. We have had a number of volunteers from the districts wanting to work in the center.”