Ham radio operators reach out to people with critical illness

Kolkata: Ham radio operators have been scanning the city round the clock during the ongoing lockdown to get medicines required by critically ill patients of West Bengal and outside.

With the help of police, these Good Samaritans have supplied medicines for cancer, hepatitis-B, HIV positive patients in several districts of West Bengal and a couple of Northeastern states, the apex body of Ham Radio operators said.

Two patients living in distant Aranghata in Nadia district and Gangasagar in South 24 Parganas district received hoomeopathic medicines from a reputed physician’s chamber in Kolkata after these amateur radio operators came forward, said Ambarish Nag Biswas, secretary of the West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC).

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“With the help of a top disaster management official of Kolkata Police, we could procure the medicine and passed it on to these families. The two are among more than 100 people whom we managed to help during the lockdown,” he told PTI.

These people hail from districts such as East and West Midnapore, Murshidabad, Nadia, Hooghly and North and South 24 Parganas.

The WBRC, having 85 Ham Radio operators as members, has also come to the aid of an elderly cancer patient of Barasat in North 24 Parganas district, whose son in the USA could not send him a particular medicine like previous months because of the prevailing situation.

Around 30 orphaned children, all diagnosed as HIV positive, were given rice, dal, vegetables, salt, and cooking oil after an NGO at Behala in the southern fringes of Kolkata, that look after them sought help from the amateur radio operators.

Three patients of Northeastern states, including a 7- year-old child, also received their medicines after the WBRC was contacted by their counterparts there. “Our members literally combed the city and the neighbourhood to find the medicines,” Nag Biswas said.

“We have always been on the side of people particularly during disasters and natural calamities. The coronavirus crisis has thrown up new challenges to us,” he said.

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