Dr. Dawipayan Deb, Medical Officer under National Health Mission, Assam recently launched a tele-medicine helpline by the name of, 'Doctors For You', in order to serve the society amid the COVID crisis. Dr. Deb took on his facebook account on April 25 to inform about the then newly launched tele-medicine service. Later, on 6th May, 2021, Deb called for volunteering doctors over social networking sites. "After few initial days of the tele-medicine operations, responses started coming in uncountable numbers, I started getting calls even outside the stipulated time of 02:00 PM to 06:00 PM; that was when I realised that I need more doctors with me for smooth functioning of the service", said Deb. Consequently, Dr. Dawipayan Deb's 'Doctor For You' is now a group of 8 physicians.
In a conversation with The News Core, Dr. Dawipayan Deb said, "Cachar's medical infrastructure is in a situation that if the daily COVID count in the district reaches the 500 mark, hospitals will be over flooded and the medical fraternity will be short of resources to serve the patients." He added, "When I came across scenes in metro cities, where people were yearning for hospital beds, and several cases, when patients with mild COVID symptoms were rushing to hospitals, I realised that this chaos may make its way into Cachar as well; this was exactly the thought that triggered the onset of 'Doctor For You'; I could now advise patients to not rush to the hospitals and approach a medical infrastructure, only when required."
On being questioned if the tele-medicine consultation can be the future of medicine, Dr. Deb said, "For the time being, in a situation when physically visiting a doctor is less feasible, as it brings with it, chances of acquiring the infection, tele-medicine can be the exact solution; but for a longer term, refering to it as the future of medicine is not correct." Dr. Deb reasoned, "The physical clinical experience that a doctor gets through a patient, or a patient gets through a doctor, can never be replaced. It is a learning process, where both sides get benefitted. Online diagnosis is limited and are subjected to inaccuracies, but physical clinical diagnosis goes through a proper investigation process that includes touch based diagnosis as well, which ensures cheaper solutions to the patient."
Dr. Vishal Das, a consultant of "Doctor For You" said, "There are multiple patients now-a-days, who are under home isolation. On being tested positive, they are advised to take required medicines by the concerned doctor; however, the patients find themselves across several questions, while in home isolation. I look forward in being a source of information for them." He further added, "COVID has given rise to various complications in patients. There are derma related issues, for which Dr. Kinnor Das is on board with us; I have come across a patient the other day, who has been diagnosed with COVID and is a patient of anxiety disorder as well. Such patients need our help. I, in 'Doctor For You', aim to provide a basic level of treatment to such patients."
Dr. Vishal Das urged people in every profession to come forward and be of help to the mankind through their respective fields. "COVID is no more a doctor-patient affair. It has crossed this mark. I urge people from every field to come forward and help in tackling the emergency through their respective professions. For example, it has been observed that people in the age group of 18-45 have been facing difficulties to book slots for vaccination; an IT professional can develop resources to help in this regard."
Dr. Kinnor Das, a dermatologist, who is a member of the 'Doctor For You' consultation team said, "I joined the team for helping the patients, who are unknown about their next correct step, after being tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to that, COVID has given rise to various other complications as well, that can be best dealt by a specialist doctor and this motivated me to join the tele-consultation service as a skin specialist."
On being asked if the people with skin allergies can take a vaccine, Dr. K. Das replied with a positive signal, saying that those who are under long term medications, should consult with their physician before being vaccinated, otherwise people with mild allergies can feel free to take vaccines. On questioned about how the pandemic is related to dermatology and skin related problems, Dr. K. Das said, "Physical and mental stress can aggravate pre-existing skin diseases. Moreover, staying at home for a prolonged time can make people anxious, leading them to indulge in various practices like unnecessarily scratching the skin. Recently, I have come across a patient, who has a habit of plucking out his hairs. Such practices come under the dermatology department." He added that COVID itself can give rise to skin related allergies as symptoms.
Dr. Dawipayan Deb, on being asked if 'Doctor For You' can be an established NGO in future, he replied, "As of now, we don't have such plans. To be honest, we currently don't have enough volunteers or resources to promise the establishment of 'Doctor For You' as an NGO in near future; but if we get larger support and the people of Barak Valley want us to continue the service even after the pandemic, we will definitely be happy to do that."