Business forum undertakes pandemic work

Vanigam volunteers set up a help desk to assist families that are looking for reliable medical information

‘Vanigam’, as it is called, was formed five years ago as a knowledge-and resource-sharing platform by like-minded professionals with the objective of devising technological solutions in agriculture and aquaculture.

With the shortage of hospital beds and other medical emergencies coming to the fore, Vanigam is focussing on helping COVID-19 patients and their caregivers by providing them with up-to-date information.

“Thanks to our network — we have more than 600 members in Tamil Nadu — we are in a position to offer logistics support. The majority of our members are volunteering their time for this initiative,” says professor Thiagu, one of the core members of Vanigam and a resident of TVS Colony in Mogappair.

Spread across the State with a remarkable presence in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai and Salem, the forum has got many of its members to join the initiative. “We currently have 180 registered volunteers,” reveals Thiagu.

A dedicated website — www.covidhelpcentre.in — has been created to help COVID-19 patients and their relatives. Beneficiaries can log in to the website and provide necessary details to receive support from the help desk. Following proper verification, such requests are forwarded to the volunteers, who work in their respective regions.

These volunteers get in touch with the beneficiaries directly and ensure that COVID-19 patients get timely medical help.

“Initially, availability of beds was the most sought-after information on our website. Now one can see that the pressure has eased slightly, especially in Chennai,” says another member M. Karthikeyan, also a key coordinator of the initiative.

The initiative has so far helped more than 180 families. Not restricting themselves to the requests made on the website, volunteers also have a Whatsapp group to help COVID-19 patients and relatives.

They also attend to home-isolated patients including families to provide them with food and also meet other basic needs. The forum aims to continue this work till normality returns to the city and the State.

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