Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in the month of March in view of coronavirus, the national toll-free helpline number #1075 setup to address the queries on COVID-19 received 50,000 phone calls in the last week of March. However, on average, 30,000 phone calls are being answered every day related to queries on Coronavirus.
The Union Health Ministry in mid-march launched the 24x7 toll-free national helpline when India started to report cases of COVID-19. All phone calls on '1075' are managed and closely monitored by the National Health Authority's (NHA) call centre based in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Delhi.
"We have received up to 50,000 phone calls as the highest spike in a day in the last week of March, but on average, we are answering at least 30,000 phone calls every day. At NHA, we have a good facility to receive feedback from people. We also have beneficiary empowered mechanism to handle query related to COVID-19", Praveen Gedam, Additional CEO at NHA told ANI.
Gedam further said that the phone calls reflect the awareness of people on Coronavirus. "Basically, people want information on COVID-19 related to diagnostic, awareness, hospital, lockdown situation, travel, food and other essential supply. Some people also seek information on government guidelines/advisories", said the official.
He added that in cases of emergency or where a caller is not getting support locally, call centre executives are escalating such cases to appropriate authorities immediately. Apart from these general calls related to COVID-19, the call centre agents are also receiving spam calls.
As the lockdown is put in place, the call centre agents are attending to the COVID-19 queries from their home, informed an official. The call centre agents are ensuring that all guidelines provided by the Union Health Ministry, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Indian Council of Medical Research are followed strictly and the caller is provided all support, said the official.
(with inputs from ANI)