KARACHI: The problem with getting sick during this lockdown is that people are actually scared of going to hospitals right now for fear of getting COVID-19 if they don’t already have it. Setting up a doctor’s appointment means that you’re exposing yourself to the deadly virus but not getting it treated means you might make your other illnesses and their symptoms worse.
So what does one do?
Luckily, one medical service has thought up of a way to keep their doors open while keeping them physically closed. Clinic5 is offering teleconsultations which are simple to use and very affordably priced: you simply have an appointment with a doctor over the phone. It’s not the same as meeting a doctor in person but it’s the next best thing.
Talaiha Chughtai, clinical supervisor and a paediatrician at Clinic5, explained that this service started because of the current situation. “We shut down a week before the lockdown because we realised that we can be potential transmitters of COVID-19. Therefore for patient safety, we converted everything online.”
The range of services that they’re offering nowadays is vast: Currently, they have a gynaecologist, a paediatrician, family physicians and general physicians on board. The ultrasound facility is suspended naturally but is otherwise also available at the clinic.
The process is fairly simple. One has to call their WhatsApp number, as advertised on their social media pages. Chughtai deals with the queries and then links the patient with the relevant doctor. The session is conducted on WhatsApp video but if the Internet connection is poor or if the patient isn’t comfortable, then the session can be conducted over a phone call.
Luckily, the consultancy charges are extremely affordable even though the clinic’s business is suffering by keeping their doors shut. “We usually charge Rs. 1,000 for consultation but we’ve reduced it to Rs. 500 right now because we understand that people are desperate for medical help right now and we would much rather offer a fee that people can easily pay,” she explained.
Those who would wish to avail the free consultation, there is a doctor available on Mondays and Saturdays from 3 to 5 pm. No fee is needed is charged in those hours.
Cutacut’s team personally tried the service and found the doctors extremely helpful and the service is very easy to use.