( April 15, 2020 )
New Delhi, Apr 15 (IANS): Keeping in view the fear and anxiety developed in marginalised society owing to the spread of deadly COVID-19, a non-governmental organisation has drawn out a plan to reach out to marginalised populations and help them fight their fears and anxiety.
The NGO-Smile Foundation aims to get a solution for this through psychological counselling by tele-calling. "Suicidal tendencies, fears, and anxieties have gripped the poor and migrant labour populations who have been the worst affected by this sudden decision of lockdown by the government to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus," said Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation.
"With the lockdown being extended, our beneficiaries need us more than ever to be there for them. Through this directly connecting with beneficiaries, we aim to create a sense of security and also help in addressing their fears," he added.
The pilot phase of tele-counselling which started a week ago by the Smile Foundation in Howrah in Kolkata, scanned close to 250 patients daily. Smile Foundation claims that in the coming weeks, the state teams consisting of doctors, nurses, and paramedics will be scaling up operations across all the project states covering both villages and urban slums as well predominantly COVID-19 affected states like Maharashtra, Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh.
"Over the next couple of weeks, trained counsellors, doctors, nurses from Smile Foundation will be making several thousand calls to all beneficiaries within our network and partner organizations to ease out their angst caused by the spread of COVID-19," said Satnam Singh, health lead at Smile Foundation.
Explaining about the process Singh added, "Through tele-counseling we are creating awareness on the disease, advising on the importance of hand-washing, and guiding the use of masks among other precautionary measures."The NGO plans to reach out to 40,000 families in the next one month, across 14 states to provide psychological counselling needs through tele-calling.