Social media giant Facebook on Friday launched Messenger Chatbot with Health Ministry and MyGov in India to raise awareness around COVID-19 disease.
The Corona Helpdesk Chatbot on Messenger will help provide authentic and accurate information and bust fake news about new coronavirus.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to support the government across ministries with communications tools and resources to share timely, accurate information on the coronavirus to keep people safe and informed. We will continue to do everything we can to help the country’s efforts,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director of Facebook India said in a statement.
Facebook users can start accessing the Corona Helpdesk Chatbot and reach out to Health Ministry for authentic news, official updates, precautionary measures and emergency helpline numbers through this Chatbot.
The Chatbot has both English and Hindi language capabilities.
To contact the Chatbot, users can go to the Facebook page on MyGov Corona Hub and then start a chat by typing ‘Get Started’, which will prompt them to either type in a query or choose from a list of frequently asked questions.
A recent report– ‘Cancer Care Delivery Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Disease – 19 (COVID-19) Outbreak’ published in the journal of Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention has pointed out that cancer patients are more susceptible to coronavirus than individuals without cancer as they are in an immunosuppressive state because of the malignancy and anticancer treatment. Oncologists should be more attentive to detect coronavirus infection early, as any type of advanced cancer is at much higher risk for unfavorable outcomes.
Author, Dr Abhishek Shankar, assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology at Lady Hardinge Medical College said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system.
“As we are having a lockdown in the whole country, patients can’t travel from one place to another. About 95 percent of the cancer care services are restricted to the urban areas but we also know that 70 percent of the people live in rural areas. So, there is a lot of disparity in cancer care. For cancer patients, stress is more disturbing for the patient rather than cancer itself,” Dr Shankar told ANI.
He added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services.
Talking about the report, Dr Shankar said, “We have published the paper on cancer care delivery, although guidance is that you shouldn’t delay and you should continue with the treatment. But there are many challenges that are coming right now. We have also advised cancer patients about the precautions they should take. Also, patients need to verify social media messages coming in from a credible source like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and WHO.”Furthermore, he suggests that persons suffering from cancer should get treated from nearby hospitals and try avoiding the delay.
The cancer specialist remarked that it is a dilemma for healthcare professionals as well as patients because there is an issue regarding what to follow and what not to. “To date, there is no scientific guideline regarding the management of cancer patients in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak,” Dr Shankar informed.
There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.
‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.
Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.
Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.
Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:
Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?
Where can I get emergency help?
What does the situation look like right now on the roads?
What are the queues like at the shops?
How much longer will supplies last?
Are courier services working in the area?
Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?
Can I visit the police stations?
Are postal services working in the area?
How do I obtain a curfew pass?
What is the situation at the hospitals?
Are there any blood donor requests?
In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.
Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.
Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)
Amid lockdown 4.0 and halted service of the metro rail in the city, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is engaged in spreading awareness about COVID-19 disease at its construction sites through pictorial messages, according to Covid-19 pandemic in India updates.
In a press statement, the DMRC said, “Along with all conventional methods to raise awareness about this pertinent issue, a number of pictorial awareness messages have been painted at DMRC’s sites so that the workers keep getting reminded about the precautions while at work.”
The campaign has been planned under the supervision of DMRC’s Safety department.
The DMRC asserted that all relevant government guidelines and advisories have been taken into consideration while planning the content. Easy language and pictorials have been used so that the messages are satisfactorily conveyed.
The DMRC said that getting the messages painted was a major challenge as most of the painters, who are generally engaged for such assignments, were unavailable during the ongoing lockdown. As an alternative mechanism, printed banners in flex were installed at a number of locations. “While the messages are largely bilingual, a lot of focus has been laid on the use of Hindi as a lot of workers are more proficient in reading Hindi,” said the DMRC.
At present, the corporation is carrying out construction at about five to six different sites in the city including work sites of Dhansa, Airport Express Line expansion work in Dwarka as well as sites/casting yards for Phase 4 projects.
It said that all guidelines set by the government agencies are being implemented while resuming works and contractors and workers are being sensitised about the precautionary guidelines at the beginning of work during the tool workshops.
“Displays with the necessary information regarding social distancing have been installed at the sites. Masks, sanitizers and thermal scanners have been made available at the sites as well. DMRC’s engineers are keeping a very close eye at the sites to ensure all norms are followed,” it said. (IANS)