Read the story of a Delhi-NCR based couple who are taking the fight against COVID-19 to another level using their website.
As Covid-19 is spreading like a wildfire across our country, getting access to basic healthcare facilities has now become a luxury for many. Even though many people and organisations have come forward to help the Indian citizens, the irregularities persist in the structure further giving rise to confusion and panic amongst the public. People have been running from pillar to post in search of oxygen beds, cylinders, Remdesivir injections, plasma donors and a dozen other requirements to save the lives of their loved ones. The healthcare infrastructure of India has been stretched to its limits and the need for a common platform where all this information can be accessed simultaneously still remains a challenge.
The month of April saw the social media flooded with SOS calls, moreover the internet was filled with a lot of unverified leads which further added to fuel to the fire, and the biggest challenge of all was that help was not reaching people on time. The creation of a platform was felt very important where there was an integration of all these random and scattered COVID-19 resource leads available on the internet. One such website https://www.covidsosindia.com has been created by the Delhi-NCR based couple Ashish and Swati Sharma.
During the first wave of covid-19, Ashish was working as a technical advisor in an MNC based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He came back to India for his wedding in October 2020 and has stayed back in India ever since working from his home. In the second wave, the Delhi-NCR is one of the worst hit regions of India and remains under a stringent lockdown. The couple was also involved in circulating the SOS messages for their friends and family but the hopes of getting treatments on time seemed like a distant reality for many. That was when Ashish decided to use his skills and knowledge to create the website “COVID SOS INDIA | Unite Against Covid” to help people all over India. The couple would gather information via social media sites, volunteers, NGOs and their friends who constantly supported them. They took the help from NGOs to receive verified leads and posted the same on their website and updated them accordingly.
“The focus was to create such a website which can bridge the gap between the provider and receiver, to have a list of verified leads that can save lives on time. During this time of uncertainty and disorganisation our aim is to create an efficient database that can cater to the needs of everyone. We have accumulated every possible information available related to COVID-19 resources that is easily accessible by the general public in the real-time. The idea is to use cyber infrastructure to support our health infrastructure and minimise the lapses.” says Swati Sharma
How does the website work?
The user can navigate to website www.covidsosindia.com and enter their city & the select the type of resource (such as oxygen beds, cylinder, plasma, medicines, Home services etc) that they are looking for. The website will then lead you to the latest verified and updated data of the selected city. The website mentions the date when the resource was last updated along with the lead and also mentions the source of the information for some leads.
“We all have been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or the other. All of us have someone who we lost either due to the lack of resources or the inability to receive medical assistance on time. In these moments of difficulty and grief, I couldn’t stop myself from working to create a platform where people can find a resource pool for all the assistance they need. I have been successful in launching a website www.covidsosindia.com dedicated to information related to COVID-19 resources in India. I have tried my best to collect the information available on social media & through volunteers, but finding verified and latest resource leads still remains a challenge for me. Therefore I request you all to contribute to this initiative and help save lives in every possible way that you can.” says Ashish Sharma
The major challenge that they face is gathering the verified data source and updating them on a daily basis. They are currently working on their own and believe that without the help of volunteers, it won’t be possible in the long run. Another challenge is to share this website among the people who need it so that they can find Covid 19 resource leads easily and also spread about the website details with others. To broaden their outreach they currently rely on social media and expect people to come forward to volunteer when they read about their website.
How can you help?
Whenever you receive any verified leads or information, share the information by filling a form given on the website. Team will validate it again and then they will post it on the website. Also, share the link of this website as much as possible so that everyone can understand the features of this website and use it as and when required. You can also fill up a form to volunteer for this cause and they will contact you accordingly.
The couple believes that their website would not only help people get medical care on time but also it would ensure less wastage of resources by minimising delay in getting treatment. The website’s transparency and real time resource updation would eventually be helpful in combating black marketing and hoarding. As preparations for a possible third wave of COIVD-19 in India seems to be gaining momentum this website can ensure that people receive required help on time. They also believe that with the simple and convenient design of the website, the latest repository available and with the help of the volunteers, India is better prepared for a head on fight with Covid-19.