This Mumbai Based Company Launched A Personalized WhatsApp Chatbot To Fight COVID-19!

India witnessed four lakh COVID-19 cases for consecutive four days. While a lot of private and community-based organizations and volunteers are trying to help people in finding oxygen cylinders, plasma, hospital beds and ventilators, there are still a lot of queries and requirements floating every day on Twitter.

To help people with their queries and fight COVID-19 in their own way, a Mumbai based company came up with their own personalized WhatsApp chatbot that helps people in finding real-time data and information.

Machadalo is a brand owned by Vijaikirti Technologies Pvt Ltd. It’s an IT company HQ in Mumbai specializing in building products and solutions for hyperlocal communities. They have built a campaign management platform that caters to advertising and lead generation in micro-communities. They are also into indirect supply chain management solutions for residential societies and corporates.

Recently, they have built a WhatsApp-based chatbot, Machadalo Education Assistant (MEA), to map the interests of students and then provide them with curated online content.

“As we were experimenting with technology to strengthen the capabilities of our WhatsApp chatbot, we realized that out there is a pandemic which is growing at an alarming rate. Around 24th April 2021, we had an internal team meeting, and we decided that we all have to do something for the people suffering because of COVID-19. Based on our Pan India network with residential societies and our chatbot capabilities, we decided to build a COVID-19 helpdesk cum a WhatsApp based virtual chatbot,” says Anupam Sorabh, the founder.

The motive was purely to provide solutions and not just information to affected people under 30 minutes.

How does it work?

The COVID-19 helpdesk is very simple to use. One can just save the number +91 72088 80208 on WhatsApp and send ‘Hi’ to start the chat session. The bot provides the user with a menu from which a particular category could be chosen. One can select the city to find the latest updated information for a particular query.

For example: If a user wants to know about the latest availability of beds, s/he can type ‘B’, select the state, say Madhya Pradesh, by typing ‘D’ and can get the web URL, which will show the latest availability of hospital beds.

If a user finds it difficult to use, s/he can connect with a volunteer by typing ‘V’ and then by selecting the state and the city he wants to know the information about. There is a special feature that works for all Indian cities, i.e., by typing ‘T’, one can get all the relevant Twitter feeds in real-time for the latest available stock. 

“We want to help affected people with solutions which might save lives and reduce the mental trauma of the near and dear ones,” Anupam continues. “We are getting so much positive feedback every day from both directly affected people and those who want to keep verified information at hand. People are also approaching us to work as a volunteer.”

The COVID-19 helpdesk is developed by an alumnus of NITIE/ NITs and backend technology of Machadalo Platform. With more than 100 active volunteers across India, the team has information of 13500+ verified suppliers.

On asking about the further plans, Anupam says, “we want to tackle the problem of optimizing the entire supply chain, i.e., to provide real-time solutions as and when the real need arises. Currently, what we have achieved is very little, and COVID-19 has already started affecting villages and semi-urban areas drastically. We are now adding more volunteers to our team to make the work smooth. We are also starting to book residential societies for vaccination drives.”

It will take a lot of time and effort for the Machadalo team to reach every village, but they believe this is the least what they can do.

Who thought a small team meeting would turn into a big initiative and will start impacting so many people.

“Save this number, share save lives: +91 72088 80208. Follow the COVID-19 protocol strictly and help in whatever way you can,” Anupam ends with a small but important message.

Amid the pandemic, NextBigWhat is featuring and honouring every single effort made by individuals, groups and organizations to acknowledge their fight against COVID-19.

If you know someone who’s bringing a change in people’s lives, share their story with us. Let the world know them! #CovidWarriors

What Is Proning? How Can It Help You Increase Oxygen Levels At Home?

With the ongoing second COVID-19 wave, the country is witnessing an acute shortage of beds and oxygen cylinders. The continuous surge in daily cases has overburdened the hospitals. As a result, patients experiencing severe implications of the virus, or having oxygen saturation level below 92% are getting admitted to the hospital. 

Since the virus mainly attacks the respiratory system of a healthy human being, the government has advised the people to practice the medically approved technique of ‘Proning’. Now, if you are wondering what Proning is or how you can practice it, hang in there. You will get answers to all your queries by the end of the article. 

What is Proning?

Proning refers to the ‘lying position’ on your chest and stomach while practicing deep breathing. It is a medically approved process and helps in improving the oxygenation of the body. The position is considered efficient in providing oxygen to various parts of the body, which is usually not possible when we lay on our sides or back. 

You might be surprised to know that the technique is not new at all. It has been there for decades and used in the treatment of patients with acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS).  According to a study published in the European Journal, 2002, it was referred to as “a simple and safe method to improve oxygenation”.

How does it help COVID-19 patients?

The COVID-19 virus attacks your lungs and weakens your respiratory system. As a consequence, the oxygen levels in your body continue to fall, and might even result in death in some cases. The best way to monitor your oxygen levels is through an Oxi Pulse meter.

[Also Watch: Start Double Masking Today: Here is How To #ProtectYourself​]

The reading on an Oxi Pulse meter for a healthy individual would be 95 or above. On the other hand, below 95 is an indication that you need to consult a health professional. Any drop below 92 means you need to be hospitalised and require oxygen support. 

If you aren’t able to get any bed in these tough times, first isolate yourself. Make sure the room of isolation is properly ventilated and receives fresh air for most times of the day. Now, practicing proning in such a case will not only help you in oxygenation but also delays the ventilator support that you might require earlier. Awake proning ensures that the tissues in your body receive a proper flow of oxygen. The other best feature of the practice is that it improves your oxygen level in a matter of minutes.

How to do Proning? 

There are two ways to do it: 

Pillow-Proning: As described by the Indian Health Ministry

According to the instructions prescribed, lay down on your chest and stomach and place a pillow under your neck. Place two under your chest and one under your shins. In this position, practice deep breathing. In a matter of a few minutes, you will be able to witness an improvement in your oxygen levels. 

The 30-minute method

According to this method, you need to switch your lying position every 30 minutes. The method involves the following steps:

Step 1: Lying on your stomach — Duration: 30 minutes
Step 2: Lying on the Right Side — Duration: 30 minutes
Step 3: Sitting up at an angle between 60-90 degrees (Fowler position) — Duration: 30 minutes
Step 4: Lying on the Left Side — Duration: 30 minutes
Step 5: Return to your initial position

You can choose to extend the exercise from 30 minutes to 2 hours. All you need to ensure is that you are not in an uncomfortable position while proning.

[Get Realtime Information on Medicines, Oxygen in Your City/ Locality]

Are the effects of Proning permanent?

Even though proning seems the best way to improve oxygenation, it is yet to be seen whether its effects are permanent or it’s just one way to delay mechanical ventilation. Apart from that, it is advised that pregnant women, a person with spinal injury or history, increased intracranial pressure, and open abdomen wounds avoid proning at all costs. 

You should practice it only when you are awake. While sleeping, you can choose to sleep in your usual posture. 

These are some of the important things you should know about proning!

#StayHome #StaySafe

Also Read: Vaccine for 18+ above: How to apply? All you need to know!

Oxygen Saturation Level: What Is The Correct Level? All You Need To Know!

COVID -19 cases are surging across India. More than 3 lakh cases are registered daily, and yet India is left to attain its peak. With this increased number of cases surging every day, the health care system of India is on the verge of collapse.

The medical equipment shortages have now started to begin, and people are experiencing a lack of beds in the hospital. The second wave of COVID-19 has affected India more than its first wave. A great many number of people infected are experiencing serious respiratory problems.

People with prolonged diseases such as blood pressure problems or diabetes are affected more by it. As the virus targets the lungs, the need for oxygen is rising throughout the country. People are suffering to get an oxygen cylinder.

Many are stockpiling the cylinders for the worst case, not knowing how much this is affecting those who are really in need of oxygen.

People need to understand that not everyone would need an oxygen cylinder; neither everyone will have the same saturation level of oxygen.

We are writing today to discuss more around this: oxygen saturation levels, its correct and recommended level in which a COVID-19 patient should be in and the warning sign that tells you to prepare for worse scenarios.

Symptoms and early precautions

Quick recap on some of the most common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Common cold symptoms such as sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhoea
  • High Fever
  • Loss of smell and taste

[Also Watch: Start Double Masking Today: Here is How To #ProtectYourself​]

If these symptoms are detected at early stages, then the recovery process can be done at a much faster rate. Precautions that a person should take are:

  • Self-quarantining 
  • Daily yoga and exercise
  • Vitamin c enriched diet
  • Consultation with any healthcare advisor
  • Sanitizing and washing hands thoroughly after touching any surface.
  • Monitoring blood saturation level regularly on having any of COVID-19 symptoms.

What is a blood oxygen level?

Blood oxygen level is the level that allows the circulation of oxygen in your blood. This oxygen in the blood is carried out by red blood cells whose routine involves collecting oxygen from the lungs and distributing it to the other parts of the body.

The human body keeps blood oxygen levels and monitors them to keep them in a specified range. This ensures that every cell of the human body gets the oxygen they need.

Blood oxygen level indicates a person’s health and how the distribution of oxygen from the lungs to the cell is taking place. Different oxygen levels indicate other health conditions of a person.

The average oxygen saturation level

The average oxygen saturation level in the human body lies from 90 to 100 %. Below 90% is considered a low category level that requires close monitoring, and the patient may need oxygen.

Patients with oxygen saturation levels ranging from 92 -93 or 98 -99 may not require the use of oxygen. Only the close monitoring of the patients with 92-93 is recommended in this scenario. Many doctors advise not to take any high oxygen if the patient’s saturation level is in the range of 95-100.

People with chronic or acute respiratory diseases may require extra attention; a person with acute respiratory may need oxygen if its saturation level falls below 93. They should also immediately consult doctors for immediate oxygen supplementation.

[Get Realtime Information on Medicines, Oxygen in Your City/ Locality]

The low oxygen saturation level

If your oxygen saturation level falls below 94%, then it’s considered low, and the need for medical oxygen may arise. Extremely low saturation levels may result in a condition known as hypoxemia.

Symptoms of low oxygen saturation levels:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sense of euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Visual disorders

How can you measure oxygen saturation levels?

With the help of a pulse oximeter, one can easily know their oxygen saturation levels. You just have to put any one of your fingers inside the oximeter; within seconds, your oxygen saturation level will be indicated on the oximeter screen.

If your oxygen saturation level drops below 94, you are recommended to get medical assistance immediately.

In these times, it’s indispensable for people to follow COVID-19 guidelines and follow a self-care and safety routine to stay healthy as the country is experiencing a shortage of medical supplies.

#StaySafe #StayHome 

Also Read: Vaccine for 18+ above: How to apply? All you need to know!

Vaccine for 18+ above: How to apply? All you need to know!

The second wave of Covid-19 is a deadly reminder that the battle against the virus is not over yet. Even though we are the largest vaccine producer in the world, we are far from being a vaccinated nation as a whole. The continuous surge in COVID-19 cases has forced the government to take some necessary actions in such situations. 

This includes the opening of a vaccination drive for all adults above the age of 18. This begins on May 1st, and registrations for the same starts from April 28 on the CoWin portal and the Arogya Setu App. 

Important Announcements by the Government

Apart from opening the vaccination drive for everyone above 18 years of age, the government also announced that other bodies like the state governments and private hospitals are allowed to approach the vaccine manufacturer directly. 

With the commencement of the third vaccination drive, the vaccine manufacturers will supply 50% of their lot to the central government. The rest 50% will be available for the open market, private hospitals and the state governments. 

The central government vaccination programme will continue as before for health professionals, frontline workers and citizens above 45 years of age. 

How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine on the CoWin platform?

  1. Visit www.cowin.gov.in.
  2. Click on Register/Sign In Yourself
  3. Enter your mobile number in the space provided, click get OTP.
  4. You will receive an OTP on your phone number. 
  5. Enter the received OTP and click “Verify”.
  6. The registration page for vaccination will open. Choose the photo ID proof you wish to upload.
  7. Fill in the necessary details like your name, age, and gender. Now upload an identity document.
  8. Click “Register”.
  9. Once you are done with registration, click on “Account Details”.
  10. Any registered citizen can choose to add three more people by clicking the “Add More” button. 
  11. Now click on the ‘Schedule appointment’ button to make an appointment.
  12. Depending on the choice of your state, district, block, and pin code, you can search a vaccination centre.
  13. The data and availability for the same vaccination centre will be displayed to you.
  14. Click ‘book’ to confirm the appointment. 
  15. Once confirmed, you will get a message with the necessary details. Show these details at the vaccination centre for verification. 

How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine on Arogya Setu App?

  1. Open Arogya Setu. If you don’t have it yet, you can download it from the Play Store. 
  2. On the homepage, tap on the ‘CoWIN’ tab.
  3. You will be able to see four options, namely – Vaccine Information, Vaccination, Vaccination Certificate, and Vaccination Dashboard.
  4. Select the “Vaccination” tab and then tap on “Register Now”.
  5. Enter your mobile number in the space provided and then tap “proceed to verify”.
  6. You’ll receive an OTP. Enter the same in the same provided and tap “proceed to verify” again.
  7. Once you’re done with mobile number verification, upload a photo ID card from your files.
  8. Fill in the necessary details like age, gender, year of birth.
  9. Unlike the CoWin portal, you can add four beneficiaries here.
  10. Depending on your choice of state, district, block, and pin code, the available vaccination sites will be displayed to you. 
  11. Choose any one that suits you the best and tap on the “Book” option.
  12. Once done, you will receive the necessary details through SMS. Show the same on the day of vaccination for verification.

[Get Realtime Information on Medicines, Oxygen in Your City/ Locality]

Many states have announced free vaccination for their people. States that are offering COVID-19 vaccine for free are:

  1. Karnataka
  2. Ladakh
  3. Delhi
  4. Odisha
  5. Uttarakhand
  6. Gujarat
  7. Rajasthan
  8. Maharashtra
  9. Assam
  10. Bihar
  11. Madhya Pradesh
  12. Sikkim

Which vaccines are available in the country?

Mainly two vaccines available to the citizens of the country right now. One is Covishield, which is developed and marketed by Serum Institute of India. The other one is Covaxin, which has been developed by Bharat BioTech Ltd. Apart from these two vaccines, Sputnik V of Russia has been approved too, considering its high effectiveness. 

Will the vaccination help in stopping COVID-19 in our country?

People need to understand that while lockdowns might slow down the widespread, they are not a permanent fix. Getting vaccinated will alleviate the risk and complications of contracting the disease. This is the only way to win over the virus for once and all. Currently, only one per cent of our population has been vaccinated. So, it’s important that even after getting vaccinated, you follow the basic norms and precautions to save yourself and the people around you. 

#StayHome #StaySafe

How To Manage When You Are Alone And COVID-19 Positive?

The sudden spike in the number of cases all over the country has left everyone in shock. The second wave of COVID-19 is putting the healthcare systems through a rigorous test. In such conditions, it’s best for each one of us to stay at home and wait for things to get better. 

However, many of us aren’t actually at ‘home’ with family right now. Many among us reside in different cities for work or education and live alone. The worst possible scenario in such a state comes when we find ourselves either COVID-19 positive or experience some major symptoms.

So, here are a few tips you should follow when you are alone: 

Stock up the essentials   

Have a look around through the eyes of a sick person. Analyze the essentials that you would require in case of sickness. 

Do not wait for your conditions to get worse. Stock up these essentials now, when you are fully fit to move. Easy-to-prepare healthy foods, drinks for regular hydration, supplies like Pulse Oximeter, thermometer, and the essential medications must be there in your house when you need them.   

Examine the symptoms  

Anyone needs to examine their symptoms first. Considering the fake rumours and messages being sent all over, you may not be familiar with the basic symptoms of COVID-19. The basic symptoms of COVID-19 include loss of smell and taste, headache, fever, cough, sore throat, muscle ache, diarrhoea and shortness of breath. In the mild and moderate state, many of these can be managed at home easily. Some older patients might only show fatigue and weakness, and yet they could be COVID-19 positive.

So, it’s important to notice the symptoms first and work your way accordingly. You might be feeling better right now, but there is a possibility that things might change in the second week of infection.

Seek out medical advice

If you have started experiencing the symptoms already, reach out to a doctor immediately. Seek advice, medications and the tests that you need to get done. In the case of older adults, make sure the doctor is aware of any medical history like cardiovascular disease, varying blood pressure, diabetes, etc

Since seeing a doctor physically would not be the best option right now, get in touch with someone who has a telemedicine facility. 

[Get Realtime Information on Medicines, Oxygen in Your City/ Locality]

Stay hydrated and take proper rest

Since fever and diarrhoea are two major classic symptoms of COVID-19, make sure you hydrate yourself regularly. To ensure minimal movement, always keep a bottle or two by the side of your bed. Feeling lightheaded, the decline in urine output, dry mouths are the major signs you are not hydrating yourself enough.

Apart from that, soups, tea with honey or ginger, fruits, and decoctions are the choices you should rely on to maintain your immunity. 

Track your vitals regularly

Monitoring your fever is the first thing you have to do. You need to keep your body temperature below 100 at all times. One countermeasure to do so is to take medicines prescribed by the doctor.

If you are feeling congestions or uneasiness in breathing, you can choose to take steam vapours or get yourself a decoction. You can also use an inhaler to ease your breathing too. You can also choose to take a shower with mild-warm water, but only when your temperature is below 100. Also, report the same to your doctor once in a while. 

Reach out to your close ones

Although you might be living alone for a long time, and think that you don’t need anyone for help. Yet this is the best time to get in touch with your close ones immediately. Set up video calls, chats, or voice calls to stay in touch with one or two of your trusted people. Also, check out those who might need your help. See what works the best for you and make it a part of your routine.

Don’t ignore your mental health

Most of us are quite careless towards our mental health. We don’t give it the attention it demands. So, in your time of sickness, be prepared, stay focused and stay away from any kind of negativity during this period. Check out the stuff that keeps you happy, be it memes, games, videos, hobbies etc., while following your routine strictly at the same time. 

So, these were the tips that you need to follow to manage yourself when you test COVID-19 positive and are alone at home. While mild and moderate symptoms can be easily managed at home, yet you should plan for the worst. Pack a bag with a spare toothbrush, medications, medical insurance, and earphones as you might need the same in case of emergency. It’s better to be prepared rather than just ignoring the basics for some other time. 

Apart from that, wishing you a healthy and happy recovery. #StaySafe

ALSO READ: Pregnancy In A Pandemic!

COVID-19 Tips: Pregnancy In A Pandemic!

Pregnancy is one of the most complicated things in a woman’s life. With COVID-19 at hand, it has become even a bigger challenge. In such a situation, people are looking for answers to their questions. In return, most of them are getting fake news or incomplete information. Pregnancy in a pandemic is something you need to be really cautious about!

So, what are the dos and don’ts for a pregnant woman during COVID-19? Here we are going to answer some major questions regarding pregnancy in a pandemic.

Is the pregnancy in a pandemic any different from the regular pregnancy?

In the beginning, when there wasn’t enough information available regarding COVID-19, it was obvious to believe that the virus comes with an increased risk for pregnant women. As time passed and information came from the official and verified sources, various data suggested pregnant women are definitely at risk from COVID-19. The conditions might become worse if you are experiencing severe illness.

Should visitors be allowed to see the mother during delivery?

Over the past year, we have learnt the different ways we can alleviate the virus from spreading. People were not allowed to meet the mother at different maternal care centres earlier, but now most of them have slacked up some precautions. With mask and basic social distancing norms, maternal care centres are now allowing 2-3 visitors at a time to accompany the women in labour.

How prenatal care in a pandemic is different from the regular one?

Prenatal care in a pandemic is nothing different from the regular one. It is more or less the same. Moreover, you are advised to have virtual visits as much as you can during your labour period. It is highly effective, safe, and reduces the chances for the mother catching the virus

Should a newborn be introduced to the members outside the family? If yes, how?

It all depends on the parents how they want to address this situation. They need to understand the risk at hand, and keeping that in mind, they should plan the methods they should go for. 

The best way to introduce the newborn is via video calling. The other method that you can adopt is by practising basic distance while introducing the baby. This, in turn, will weaken the chances of the baby getting affected. 

Why are pregnant women not a part of clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccination programme?

Any government wants to protect their people at any cost. Certain things are still unclear regarding the vaccine and how it affects pregnant women and her kid. To protect you from the same uncertainty, pregnant women have been excluded from the first clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. 

You are advised to follow the basic precautions until then, like using a mask, washing hands, and physical distancing.    

Does that imply that the COVID-19 vaccine is dangerous for pregnant women?

No, not at all. It is just a precaution since we don’t have enough data that can explain to us the effects that a pregnant woman is going to witness. As soon as the clinical trials for pregnant women start, the situation will become clearer to us. In the end, vaccination for pregnant and non-pregnant women isn’t going to be any different. They are both going to get the same benefits. 

How long do we have to wait for the clinical data for pregnant women?

Based on the data we got from the first clinical program, there is definitely some time for that. You don’t actually have to wait for the clinical data; also, people can decide it for themselves once the observational data is released. 

Is there any information for the vaccination of lactating mothers? Can they build up their child’s immunity with breast milk?

There is not enough data that stops lactating women from getting vaccinated. Moreover, the vaccination doesn’t harm milk production in any way. There might be a chance that a mother may contribute to the immunity of her child. This has worked for many and might work the same way for you too. So far, the data doesn’t suggest how the vaccination is going to affect a lactating mother. 

Are vaccinated patients in labour required to wear a mask at all times?

Any maternal care would suggest you keep wearing masks at all times. We have seen different mutations of the COVID-19 virus all over the world, and we don’t know how they are going to affect you yet. In such conditions, a patient in labour should “try” to wear a mask as much as she can. There can be some relaxation since pregnancy can be a challenging task. However, you should understand that basic precautions are necessary.

#StaySafe #StayHome

ALSO READ: What Should I Do If One Of My Family Members Becomes COVID-19 Positive?