An Auckland doctor is helping hundreds of thousands of struggling families in India all the way from her home office.
Dr Sandhya Ramanathan started filming Covid-19 home-help videos last year. The aim was to inform her family members back in India, but the videos soon went viral.
“I felt extremely responsible, I always have. Even if I didn’t have family over there, I would have produced these videos,” she told 1 NEWS.
In the videos, Sandhya gives advice on prevention, how to keep your family safe and breathing exercises to try if you catch the virus.
The videos have since been translated into 14 different languages, and in the wake of India’s devastating second wave, its government has called on Ramanathan for help.
“India’s Disaster Management Institute reached out to me and asked me to come up with a plan to protect the children, because it’s children and young people who are being hit quite hard,” she said.
She’s now teamed up with an Australian artificial intelligence developer whose created an app to help answer Covid-19 questions directly between doctor and patient.
They are now calling on medical experts across the globe to offer assistance to medical teams on the ground in India.
“Doctors keep falling sick and they’re rotating junior doctors or non-ICU background doctors to try and operate ventilators, so to get overseas doctors who have the know-how to basically provide tele-help and support,” she said.
President of the New Zealand Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr Samantha Murton, is encouraging any doctors with spare time to offer their expertise. While Indian heritage isn’t essential, it has helped.
“I think all of us like to hear from people who we know are similar to ourselves, we have a sense that they understand our situation,” she told 1 NEWS.