The current situation in India caused by the covid-19 pandemic is dismaying. The country is gripped by disease, death, and the induced horror. Until yesterday, when I was watching the situation only through the news channels and social media posts, I was sad — just sad.
However, today, when I began to volunteer for the situation to connect the people (from different cities requiring oxygen cylinders, bed, plasma of specific blood group, injections and medicines) with the different resource providers (organizations, hospitals, stores, dealers, donors) by finding and forwarding verified information from Twitter, Instagram, Covid-care WhatsApp groups, I realized that the people are suffering not just from the disease but also from the chaos caused by the haphazard search for these resources.
For instance, an office colleague contacted me for oxygen cylinders in Lucknow. I felt more pressed about his need knowing he didn’t have his parents and now it was his brother in need. I provided him with many leads but unfortunately, I only got to hear that most of the phone numbers that he called weren’t answered, were busy, or said they were out of stock. I drilled further for the latest leads through posts and google sheets and forwarded those. As I was doing that, I wondered how hard it must be for him to call at each of those numbers (even more if he was reading the numbers from the google sheets on his phone!) while he had a sick brother with no one else to look after. This was just one example and perhaps most Indians are currently going through this!
The situation made me think if we could have one website or digital application for the whole nation where information about the availability of plasma donors, beds, oxygen cylinders, injections, etc. is organized city-wise — where instead of a list of phone numbers of the resource suppliers that the needy would be calling, the suppliers could indicate through a simple button that the resource is available or not. If available, the needy could simply book and procure it. For the entire population to get on board and use this application in the urgent times, it might require some national level announcement but if everybody has a one-stop source for all the verified information, it will save a lot of time, energy and even lives. That colleague could be saved from dialing 50 phone numbers if he could just click on the city name, resource needed and see its availability with different suppliers at a given time.
What do you think? What are other possible ways in which we can solve such problems of national importance and emergency?