Disability group sets up COVID-19 helpline

Covid-19, Stories | June 18, 2021

In many cities across India, NGOs and state government agencies initiated services for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem was that many people in the poor rural areas had no idea of what support they could tap into. They were missing out on the medical care they needed, and there had been a surge in COVID-19 related deaths in rural areas.

Two Organisations of People with Disabilities (OPDs) supported by CBM took the initiative to set up a helpline service to answer queries from the community about ambulance availability, hospital admission processes, and how to access consultations with doctors either face to face or by phone. The service was equipped particularly to deal with queries from people living with disabilities.

A team of people with disabilities had been trained up to point people in the right direction for the support they needed. The Helpline was called Setu (“bridging the gap”). Calls increased daily as people got to know about the service.

The service was able to provide links to counselling, support for children in distress, as well as giving information on how people could access government support schemes and where to get the vaccine.

While deaths from COVID-19 still remain high, there was hope that the infection had now peaked. CBM-supported OPDs were now engaged in strengthening vaccination drives and were resuming their livelihood activities. Disability inclusive Farmer Producer Organisations were carefully resuming their operations with members in intervention areas.

You can support this service, and the many other urgent needs like emergency food packs and personal protective equipment for people in India today with a donation.

CBM’s acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) for our project “Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods and Inclusive Development in Uttar Pradesh”.

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