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Call4Svasth - Redefining the potential of telecare services!

By Anupama K,#COVIDActionCollab

April 7, 2022

“When we met Ranjani*, a Tuberculosis patient, during one of our field visits, she complained of chest pain, a shortage of breath, and high blood pressure. After we connected her with the doctors and nurses at Call4Svasth, it was identified that the underlying cause of these symptoms was domestic violence-induced anxiety,” shared Simran Singh, Program Coordinator at Call4Svasth – an enhanced telecare platform developed by the #COVIDActionCollab (CAC) and Swasti to address the physical, emotional and social aspects of health. 

Ranjani is a 29-year-old woman who hails from Rajasthan’s Kota. “Ranjani used to be a very cheerful person. However, after her marriage, she completely lost interest in engaging herself in activities she used to enjoy earlier and became very impassive and quiet,” her mother shared. 

A mother of two, she now lives with her mother and brother as her in-laws asked her to move out of their house as her health deteriorated. 

Protect

Marginalized Migrant Families in Cities who have lost livelihoods during COVID-19

To ensure that Migrant families do not go hungry and are taken care of, have the right information and are guided; with their panic and anxiety addressed and are protected from COVID-19, Swasti is address 3 immediate requirements to protect migrant families – Ration Kits, Hygiene kits and home quarantine kits

When the team was apprised of Ranjani’s physical illness, the field staff of Swasti made arrangements for her to speak to one of its nurse-aide-callers (NAC), the first point of contact at Call4Svasth. After listening to her concerns, the NAC referred her to a nurse. From their interactions, the nurse identified that Ranjani’s physical ailments stemmed from an underlying mental health issue. 

This prompted the team at Call4Svasth, which includes nursing staff, doctors, and counselors, to delve deeper into the issue. Later, through a screening process, they identified that Ranjani had been subjected to verbal, emotional, and physical abuse at her in-laws’ place, leaving her with bouts of anxiety.The immediate goal of the Call4Svasth team then was to relieve Ranjani of her pain. She was recommended medicines to alleviate the pain and Tuberculosis treatment was also initiated. 

In addition to the medication, she underwent counseling sessions for over three months. With the help of these sessions, Ranjani was able to identify what triggered her physical symptoms. She shared that she felt uneasy every time she had an argument with her husband, when her husband yelled at her, or when she had to take care of her kids. She also shared that she would faint every time an argument arose between her and the in-laws. 

Although Call4Svasth works on a simple telephonic model, one challenge the team faced was getting Ranjani to speak to the medical team as she didn’t have a mobile phone of her own. “The gender and the digital divide are quite wide in these vulnerable communities and most of the women that we have worked with do not own a mobile phone to avail of the services meant for them. In order to solve this particular issue, we usually ask for a neighbor’s phone number or a family member’s phone number. We have to also ensure that the concerned person is comfortable with using the phone number. In Ranjani’s case, we got in touch with her brother first. At times, it took us over 30 minutes just to get Ranjani to have a telephonic conversation with our team,” Simran recalled. 

During one such occasion, when the field staff couldn’t get in touch with Ranjani, they visited her at her home. The team also undertakes follow-ups regarding her health condition even now, she added. 

Rajani has now started to pay attention to her kids and she plays with them at times, her mother shared. 

Ranjani’s story is not an isolated incident. Like her, many women belonging to vulnerable communities face several hardships and live their lives in distress. This is where the role of #COVIDActionCollab and its partner organizations becomes crucial. By bridging the gap between those who are in need and services built entirely for them, #COVIDActionCollab strives relentlessly to ensure that each and every individual belonging to these communities is resilient and capable of bouncing forward amidst adversities. 

*Name has been changed to protect the individual’s identity

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