NIT-Tiruchy alumni’s WhatsApp bot:  The one-stop spot for Covid resources

Owing to increasing requests, the team has brought in more alumni and developed a web app to track statuses of multiple requests and leads in real-time.

Published: 08th June 2021 05:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2021 05:14 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

By Express News Service

TIRUCHY: Coming to the aid of Covid-19 patients and caretakers, NIT-Tiruchy alumni have set up a Whatsapp bot to help patients and caretakers in finding resources during the second wave. The bot can be accessed by messaging 9686450748 on the application.According to a release, the institution alumni built a core team, funded and started it as a call centre that served as a single-point contact to access reliable and verified information on essential Covid-19 resources -- including  Remdesivir, oxygen cylinders and ICU beds. 

Upon receiving a requirement, the team scours through multiple websites, WhatsApp groups, Twitter feeds and directly connect with hospitals and suppliers to find the required resource. Then they connect the provider with the patient or caretaker.They said that this saves precious time for those affected, as they would otherwise have to spend hours searching by themselves.Owing to increasing requests, the team has brought in more alumni and developed a web app to track statuses of multiple requests and leads in real-time. This was followed up by their WhatsApp bot. The bot can capture requirements from the patients in a hassle-free manner. 

The members said that the requirements have evolved over the weeks. Earlier in May, most requirements were for ICU beds and Remdesivir. However, since the end of May, most requests are for black fungus medication.While initially most requests were from NIT alumni and their connections, they are getting requests from the general public of late, members said. Similarly, early requests were mostly from metros while now more are coming in from tier-2 and tier-3 towns. So far, over 200 patients have benefited from more than 40 cities across the country. 

Shekar Nair, one of the core team members said, “Keeping quiet in the face of the pandemic was not an option for us. While doctors and all frontline workers were helping the affected directly, we built a technology platform, kick-started a call centre, and recruited city champion volunteers (alumni), to give reassurance to the affected and their families when there is so much confusion around.”


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