Hyderabad COVID-19 patients turn to social media for help
HYDERABAD: At a time when the public health care system is slow, flagged with poor reviews and termed unreliable by many, social media mobilisation is soon becoming a platform to seek assistance in getting facilities like ventilator beds and ambulance services or even plasma donors.With helpline numbers 104 and 1075 remaining unresponsive, many hapless citizens are taking to the social media and tagging ministers to get help.On intervening days of Wednesday and Thursday, two social media posts went viral, one that of a Covid patient complaining of breathlessness and another of a patient himself stating he was breathless and fearing that he may have contacted the virus.
“It was a very dire situation. We began calling 108 at 11 pm when the breathlessness began. He had got fever since Monday and the test results came on Tuesday, then suddenly health deteriorated. It was only after putting up a post on social media that ambulance came at 12:30 am,” shared Shravanti K, sister of the patient. It was only after the post went viral, which led to both Health Minister Eatala Rajender and Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan intervening the matter, the ambulance arrived. In another case, Shaik Fayaz, a resident of Amberpet, tweeted about suffering from severe cough and unable to go to any hospital. The Health Minister responded and though the patient was linked with King Koti, he chose to head to KIMS for a test and future course of treatment. This particular case highlights the fact that an overwhelming number of people still prefer private care.
“Private hospitals are exploiting people in terms of ambulances and other services even when the cases are related deaths. With regard to patients also we are seeing two extreme cases on social media -- one that of people can afford and want treatment at private hospitals and the other of those who can’t and doesn’t want to go to government hospital. In that case, we have started home isolation oxygen service and planning for mobile ventilator services,” noted Sai Teja, a Society for Cyberabad Security Council volunteer and member of Feed the Need team.