Srinagar, May 26: Atleast 250 Kashmiri doctors serving abroad are providing free telemedicine consultation 24×7 to people in the valley since last year amid the pandemic.
These Kashmiri doctors who are serving in Saudi Arabia, US, UK, Canada, started this initiative in July last year and named it as Kashmir Health Care Support Group. These doctors ranging from general physicians, cardiologists, chest specialists, orthopaedists to paediatricians to general surgeons and pathologists have collaborated for this with an NGO Ehsaas International for using their toll free helpline to receive calls from patients.
A Senior Consultant Cardiac Anesthesiologist, who is a Kashmiri doctor based in Gulf said first they had a small group of doctors then others also joined them from Gulf, US, UK, Canada, Australia New Zealand. Many doctors who are serving in Jammu and Kashmir are also part of this endeavor, he said.
He said they took this initiative as it was not possible for patients to visit the hospitals amid the pandemic. “We provide medical advice, create awareness among patients and even provide prescriptions called e-prescription wherever needed. We keep all records of a patient so next time the same doctor follows this particular patient,” he told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
“We receive most calls related to COVID, kidney ailments, diabetes, blood pressure, psychiatric issues,” he said.
Sharing her experience of how she got benefited by this service, Farah Jan, 27, a resident of Srinagar’s Rajbagh area, started cough and fever in the first week of April. After taking medicines for two days, there was no improvement in her condition. Eventually, she got her COVID-19 test done which came positive.
“It was not possible for my old parents to take me to the hospital as I feared they might catch infection. I called the toll free number of Ehsaas International where I was connected to a doctor in Saudi Arabia. The doctors gave me online advice for two weeks, prescribed few medicines, advised to be in home isolation and boosted my morale. I was told to check my oxygen saturation level and should remain above 90,” Farah said.
After 10 days, she got cured and her COVID test also came negative. “I felt as doctors were available for me 24×7 as I would call them any time,” she said.
Hakim Mohammad Ilyas, a representative of the Ehsaas International said they have made rosters of these doctors who remain available 24×7.
“Initially, this service was only for Kashmiris and now people across the country call on our toll free number and get required advice from the doctors, who are serving abroad,” Ilyas said