To address and resolve medical as well as stress related issues during lockdown, the Punjab government on Monday launched a special helpline 1800 180 4104 for state’s residents to connect with a network of senior doctors over tele-conference and get medical advice on covid-19 and other related concerns.

Over 1800 senior doctors have been empanelled for this purpose who have been duly trained about the platform, its protocol and functionalities, disclosed additional chief secretary department of governance reforms and public grievances, Vini Mahajan.

Underlining the importance of the helpline, Mahajan said that an intelligent Coronavirus triaging system has been developed to identify and prioritise cases for emergency medical attention.

This system shall also help identify cases for isolation, home quarantine and those who require medical attention. The cases shall be notified to the government for further tracking and action, she added.

The helpline has been conceptualised by the department of governance reforms and public grievances and is being implemented with the state COVID19 Control Room, Government of Punjab (SCCR) and the India Medical Association (IMA), Punjab branch. This feature has also been added to the COVA Punjab mobile application available on Android PlayStore and IOS AppStore.

There is unrest among citizens due to the inability to reach doctors in non-emergency cases amid the lockdown. Getting professional medical advice from doctors shall help people understand their own symptoms and act accordingly in the best interest of themselves and their families, Mahajan added.

Describing the working of the helpline, she said the incoming calls would be first answered by an Interactive Voice Response (IVR). This IVR shall filter the calls based upon the type of assistance required and those requiring medical advice on COVID or other health related issues will be asked for more information such as recent travel history and symptoms.

This information will be shared with the network of IMA doctors and the citizen will receive a call-back from a registered doctor who will further listen to the patient’s condition and advise on treatment, precautions and other consequent actions.

Callers will be advised on concerns regarding Coronavirus as well as other health issues since it may be difficult for citizens to seek and access professional medical advice amid the lockdown.