An online facility for anyone stressed about coronavirus (COVID-19) to talk to someone, was launched at the campus of the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) in Hyderabad. As Agenzia Fides learned, while cases of coronavirus are present in 35 countries around the world, and after the World Health Organization which had declared it “a global health emergency”, the Catholic Health Association of India wants to assist those who are subjected to stress due to the Coronavirus crisis. With this spirit, thanks to the idea of Father George Kannanthanam, secretary of CHAI, an online “HelpDesk” service was launched. The platform, which is called “coronacare.life” was illustrated to Fides by Sister Victoria Narishetty JMJ, President of CHAI. People can come to the site for live chats, audio and video calls, apart from communicating through emails. The website www.coronacare.life is active and accessible to all: there are about 30 professionals from social work and psychology backgrounds ready to answer calls and face the fears and anxieties generated by the coronavirus crisis. Doctors are ready to answer medical queries.
Billion Lives, a tech company with social passions based in Bengaluru, southern India, headed by John Santhosh, spearheaded the initiative by developing the necessary platform and tech solutions. “Project Vision”, a Claretian social mission, based also in Bengaluru, coordinated with various national networks in India to bring together the required professionals who were willing to provide voluntary services.
Sister Doctors’ Forum of India and Kerala Association of Professional Social Workers (KAPS) provided the required expert volunteers.
In addition, a team of specialists from Rajagiri hospital, together with some doctors from Maharashtra, took care of giving specific training to the volunteers. On the other hand, Father Jojo Peter Ancheril, working in Claretian Publications in Macau, China, organized to get volunteers who could speak Chinese, both Mandarin, and Cantonese. Father Ancheril also managed to get volunteers who could communicate in German, French, Spanish and Italian, along with most languages in India.
All this background work was coordinated within ten days’ time, as Billion Lives worked on developing the platform.
The platform, explain the organizers, can also be used for other emergencies, if there is a need.