648 calls of help received by NCW for pregnant women in last 20 days

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New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) From urgent requirement for a ventilator bed to need for plasma, about 648 calls of help were received by the NCW for pregnant women in the last 20 days.

On April 29, the National Commission for Women (NCW) started a helpline for exclusively assisting pregnant women during emergencies under #HappyToHelp campaign.

Ever since its launch, a group of 40 people are working together to manage different requests received on the helpline, including arranging oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, plasma, and delivering medicines to the patients.

'Till today, the helpline has saved 648 such pregnant women and their babies,' NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said.

Sharma said as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified, so increased the need for plasma.

'In its initial days, the helpline received several requests for plasma after which we called for people who have recovered from COVID to come forward and donate plasma,' she said.

'People responded very positively to the NCW's call to save two lives by donating plasma for pregnant women and currently the helpline has plasma donors from across the country who have readily agreed to help,' Sharma said.

In one case, a 29-year-old pregnant woman from Bengaluru urgently needed a ventilator bed as the hospital did not have an ICU or a ventilator facility. The request was sent to the NCW's helpline for expecting mothers at midnight by a volunteer group. 'Every authority from the district health officer to the police commissioner was contacted for arranging the ventilator. Even the highest of our officials were involved. The team also contacted the health minister's office for help. Finally, after a night-long battle, a ventilator was arranged for the patient and she was shifted to an ICU,' Sharma said.

In another case, a 30-year-old pregnant woman from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh was urgently looking for an ICU for herself. 'After the request was sent to the helpline, our team coordinated with the authorities and she was shifted to a ventilator. The family had later informed that she gave birth to a baby girl,' she added.

The NCW has also roped in doctors for providing tele-consultation.

'The NCW called for doctors to come forward and volunteer for the cause and at present there are over 20 doctors who provide tele-consultation services to women free-of-cost. These doctors hail from different parts of the country so that patients can clarify their queries in their own language,' she said.

Sharma said the helpline was started just with NCW team members but now several others, including social workers, doctors, influencers, celebrities, have joined in to amplify the helpline's reach. PTI UZM KJ

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