While the world is going through with unprecedented crisis in form of Coronavirus, a 2012-batch IAS officer Prashant Sharma who has penchant for using IT solutions for better governance, has come up with a useful mobile app ‘Chikitsa Setu’. The young and dynamic officer and his lawyer wife Poulomi Pavini Shukla have also developed a website coronajankari.in – a single-point resource, providing relevant information and answers about Corona in Hindi to the public. In an interaction with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN), Prashant Sharma talks about his passion for technology and work in the times of corona.
Q Please tell us about Chikitsa Setu mobile app.
Chikitsa Setu is the first of its kind app in the country that will provide information and training to our first line of defence in this fight against Corona virus. This app will also help immensely in providing quality training material to people involved in the field of medicine. Technology is an enabler and therefore I thought of using IT for better governance in this difficult time. Chikitsa Setu mobile app will be useful to all Corona Warriors, especially people like doctors, paramedical staff, nurses, cleaning personnel, other officers who are dealing with COVID-19 cases directly.
The conceptualization and development of this app was done by me. The training videos are provided by experts from King George Medical University, Lucknow and technical consultation is being done by National Institute for Smart Government (NISG), Hyderabad. It was launched recently by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Q How is this app useful for Corona Warriors and public?
Chikitsa Setu app consists of short videos (of 1 to 4-minutes duration) which provide answers to queries of Corona Warriors. While making the app, a ground level survey was done and questions were collected from medical professionals working in the field. King George Medical University, Lucknow has partnered to provide good quality training videos for each of these questions. This app also has an option to submit a question, if your queries aren’t answered with any of the video.
The app also contains Corona helpline numbers. There is also an option of conducting webinars with famous doctors, experts and with officials of the Medical Education Department.
The objective of the app is to provide official training content, spread awareness, and ensure safety of healthcare workers, sanitation workers and police personnel who are actively involved to protect citizens, breaking the chain of COVID-19 infection.
Q You have also developed an online portal in Hindi to help combat misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic. Please give more details about it.
coronajankari.in is a simple, single point resource with information and answers from the Health Ministry and other official sources to create awareness among people about the Corona virus. The website content (text, images and explanatory videos) has been chosen keeping in mind the uneducated people. Having realised that website had to be in Hindi, as it is more widely understood, we made it user friendly keeping in mind the 45-50 crore Hindi-speaking users in north and central India.
The website can be referred to find updated data and official information issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Besides, the website also includes an interactive tool for self assessment of symptoms similar to that used by United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) to know about the coronavirus positive and suspect patients.
Q How can the government make best use of it? Is it user friendly?
The website has a tool to alert authorities about suspected coronavirus patients and at the same time offers advice to users. It incorporates all information related to coronavirus, government guidelines, tests and even a helpline. It also collates key data of users which eventually helps in identifying hot spots. The user can fill in details about his or her age, gender, symptoms if any, travel history, pin code of address etc on the website to know whether he or she is a suspected coronavirus patient or not.
Thereafter, the user will get advice as to whether he should visit a hospital, stay at home, or call a helpline.
Since people using the website would fill up their details to know about their health status, it would help authorities take suitable action to prevent community spread of the dreaded coronavirus.
The portal features video statements from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Q Where do you get inspiration from for developing such a platform?
I have done my B. Tech in Information Technology stream. So, I.T. has always been close to my heart even before coming to civil services. In 2016, I had created an app ‘ASK UP’ which helped users to know the details about the state government policies and programmes, projects and services at the comfort of their home.
My wife, Poulomi Pavini, is my biggest source of strength and a fountainhead of brilliant ideas..