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People with chronic ailments left in the lurch

While labs and clinics are shut owing to the lockdown, many hospitals are postponing consultations except for emergencies

Published: 25th April 2020 07:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2020 07:13 AM   |  A+A-

MBBS exam

For representational purpose

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fifty-nine-year-old Sivadas, a bed-ridden cancer patient from Sreekaryam, is anxious about missing his upcoming chemotherapy session at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital. Since the declaration of the lockdown, apprehensions are looming large over his cancer treatment plan which is crucial for his survival.“The upcoming session is my 28th chemo session. Normally I hire the service of an ambulance for going to the hospital. But now it’s impossible because of the lockdown. I have sought help from many people as I cannot miss the session at any cost. I have been bedridden for the past two years,” said Sivadas, who has blood pressure and diabetes and is one among the many who are struggling to receive treatment for diseases other than Covid-19 during the lockdown.

Illus: Express

Like Sivadas, hundreds of patients suffering from lifestyle diseases including blood pressure, diabetes and cancer which need regular check-ups are at the receiving end because of the lockdown. Labs and clinics are shut and apart from emergency palliative care, many are postponing consultations.

Saranya (name changed), a chronic diabetic patient, has a similar story. “My husband is confined to the wheelchair. His doctors have recommended amputation but because of financial constraints, we have postponed his treatment. Also, it is highly imperative we check his sugar levels but owing to the lockdown, it is not possible,” she said. “We contacted Pallium India for help and they gave us a glaucometer. But we are unable to go to the hospital because of the lockdown,” she added.

Chairman of Pallium India M R Rajagopal said that the lockdown has caused a lot of suffering for the public, especially those ailing from various diseases.“Our organisation can reach out to only a limited section of the society. Thousands are in a dire situation because of the lockdown. We publicised our number in the newspaper and started getting a lot of calls. Many have no access even to seek help, especially in rural areas. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the health situation of several was bad enough,” said Rajagopal. He added that there are kidney patients who are unable to go for dialysis.

Pallium India had to recruit volunteers to address the growing number of distress calls from patients across the district. “We received a huge response from youngsters. Around 87 volunteers registered with us within two days of advertising. We needed people to deliver medicines and emergency care for those in need,” said Rajagopal. He said that the only way forward to tackle these kinds of emergencies is through community support and selfless volunteering.

Since the launch of the helpline number (8606884889) on February 13,  Pallium India has received 157 distress calls for various health emergencies including blood check-ups, transportation for going to the hospital, medicine supply and physiotherapy. The Pallium India team has given home care to around 27 patients since the lockdown was announced.

help a call away
Since the launch of the helpline number (8606884889) on February 13, Pallium India has received 157 distress calls for various health emergencies including blood check-ups, transportation for going to the hospital, medicine supply and physiotherapy. The team has given home care to around 27 patients since lockdown



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