Hyderabad: When he was in dire need of treatment he found himself discharged abruptly from the hospital. With the left part of his body paralysed, Mohd Mustafa, couldn’t do anything. He was undergoing treatment at the Government Nizamia General Hospital, Charminar, for more than a month when the hospital was converted into a Level-1 quarantine centre for Covid-19 in March.

Mustafa was among the 80-odd chronically ill and paralytic patients who were discharged and sent back home in the midst of their treatment. For the last two months they have been deprived of treatment. Now there is a glimmer of hope. The hoary hospital, which practices Unani medicine, has decided to extend telehealth facilities to its patients in collaboration with the city based NGO, Helping Hand Foundation (HHF).

What happens when traditional medicine embraces technology? It spells immense benefits for patients. That’s what scores of patients with chronic health disorders are experiencing. Virtual consultation has brought immense relief to them. “I am feeling much better now”, says Asad of Vattepally. After a gap of two months, his treatment commenced again last week with the launch of dedicated home care service by the Nizamia Hospital.

A team of physiotherapist, patientcare givers and counsellors, who comprise the HHF home care service, are visiting displaced patients at their houses – mostly in the old city. After a quick checkup, they establish contact with doctors at the Nizamia Hospital through Whatsapp videoconferencing. What follows is virtual consultation before a treatment plan is worked out. So far, 20 patients have been covered and HHF plans to reach out to another 50 to 60 patients in the coming weeks.

For the Nizamia doctors, it is a first time experience to offer online consultation and prescribe required therapy to patients in a virtual mode. “I am deeply appreciative of the services being rendered by HHF”, says Dr Ahsan Farooqi, Additional Director, AYUSH and In charge principal, Nizamia Tibbi college. The Nizamia team comprises of Dr Naseem Ullah, Dr Sikander Ali CMOs, Dr Anjum, Associate Professor, Dr Abeda, Associate Professor, Dr Ghousiya Tabassum MD (General Medicine), Dr Sana Fatima PG, Dr Asra PG, Dr Nuzath, SMO and Dr Ismail.

A majority of the patients, who flock to the Nizamia Hospital, are from poor families and most of them seek post stroke treatment and rehabilitation. Their sudden discharge from the hospital in the middle of treatment left them in a lurch. “I would have recovered completely by now if the treatment had continued during last two months”, says Mustafa. However, he is happy that the treatment has resumed.

On its part, the home care team is taking all precautions in view of the Covid risk. “We are conducting thermal check with an infra-red thermometer, maintaining physical distancing, noting down the patient medical history and checking for any flu like symptoms before engaging with the patient”, says Mujtaba Hasan Askari of HHF.

With the Covid threat looming large, the home care model is proving a big boon to patients. They are now able to access treatment without stirring from home. And all this at no cost.

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