Hyderabad: The lack of help desks and adequate signages in all COVID hospitals in the city is creating more anxiety and stress for the patients and attenders of suspected and positive corona cases when they are approaching government-designated COVID-19 centers for testing and admission. Many have expressed their displeasure at not being given proper guidance about the facilities for testing and treatment at hospitals.
The City-based NGO, Helping Hand Foundation, which works with underprivileged sections in empowering them to get affordable and easily accessible treatment through their voluntary services in government hospitals, has come forward and set up HELP DESK services at the District Area Hospital, King Koti, Osmania General Hospital and at the Government Chest Hospital, Erragada.
The newly setup HELP DESK at King Koti has a team of three Patient Counsellors. They are now available at the entrance and the inside of the building of the hospital to guide and provide help to the patients visiting the hospital. Most of the patients are coming for testing and they need to be advised that the process to first get an OP registration done and then visit the TRIAGE after the evaluation there, the doctors will give a slip for the COVID test, for which there is a separate counter. “Due to the large number of patients coming to the hospital, there is an acute need to give them direction at the entry point and also help them maintain a safe distance in queues” said Abdul Manan, one of the Volunteers.
We also identify if anyone in the waiting is old and needs help and immediately assists them said another volunteer of the NGO, Vikram Reddy. For other patients coming with Shortness of breath (SOB) there is a separate process for which the patients need to be guided and attended to promptly.
Apart from King Koti, HHF is providing COVID specific help desk services at Government Chest Hospital, Eragadda, the counsellors at Chest Hospital are counselling the admitted patients to carry their mobile phones and essential medicines inside the isolation wards. The patient attendees are being counselled to stay calm and cooperate with the hospital and after admissions, the counsellors are talking to patients who are not cooperating on the treatment given by the doctors. They are acting as a bridge between the doctors and the attenders.
At OGH, the focus on the HELP Desk is more on emergency services and a team of volunteers is assisting patients in providing them wheelchairs and stretchers. That too, especially from evening 6 pm to 1 am as most cases are coming to OGH are of SOB which requires immediate assistance.
Many health care workers are scared to work in COVID hospitals as they fear getting infected. This is a daunting task to find dedicated and trained resources. As luck could have it, 15 per cent of our volunteers who were working at different government hospitals fell victim to the corona in the last 60 days. “They have now come back after a full recovery from the disease with increased vigour and zeal to serve the needy due to the immunity that is building up against the virus,” said Mr. Mujtaba Hasan Askari of the Helping Hand Foundation.
HHF volunteers are also working with corona-afflicted pregnant women affected with COVID that are finding it difficult to access maternity services in Modern Government Maternity Hospital — Petlaburj, Government Community Health Centre — Barkas, Government M.N. Area Hospital — Malakpet and Government Area Hospital — Bela, Shalibanda.
HHF is working with partner NGOs like Access Foundation and will approach the government for setting up the HELP DESK at Gandhi and Sarojini Eye Hospital.