Ratan Kumar Ganapati fell in trouble as his 65-year-old father needed to be taken to a hospital during this coronavirus pandemic. But he was scared to do so, fearing the elderly man might contract the virus.
Ganapati shared the issue on a Facebook group eDoctors and elaborated all his father’s physical complications there. Soon, in a comment over the post, he was advised to contact a physician via Facebook Messenger.
His father is now doing well after following the prescription received on Messenger that day.
Ganapati, who is a senior scientific officer at Bangladesh Sugar Crop Research Institute, said his father had a thyroid surgery six years ago, but some complications surfaced recently, and ‘eDoctors’ saved him. Many like Ganapati are receiving such services for free from the Facebook group eDoctors every day. Some 150 expert physicians, along with carrying out their routine hospital duties, have been offering the invaluable consultation. eDoctors was lunched on 21 April with the slogan ‘Free services from physicians for 24 hours’.
The initiative was undertaken by Dhaka Shishu Hospital physician Nazmul Islam, Matuail Shishu Matrisadan physician Amir Hossain and housewife Dina Amin.
Earlier, they had met on a Facebook group called SSC 2000 and HSC 2000 and decided to offer the care at home amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Till 28 June, over 80,000 members were in eDoctors group. Initially, 11 physicians from nine departments were involved. The number has increased to 150 physicians from 30 departments.
People generally seek treatment for paedeatric problems, medicine related issues, gynecological ailments, diabetes, heart disease, nose-ear-throat, eye and skin problems and so on. People having COVID-19 symptoms too seek consultation. An expert team with seven members provides such services.
An admin member tags a physician in any post seeking assistance in the group and asks the user to consult the tagged physician over Messenger.
“The physician first learns symptoms of the patient and then either texts the prescription or makes voice or video calls as per need,” said Dina Amin.
So far, over 50,000 people received health services from eDoctors.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten here in English by Nusrat Nowrin.