Aarogya Setu: An App That Alerts If You Cross Paths With Someone Who Tested Positive With Covid-19

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As the world and India fight the COVID-19 pandemic, medical researchers, pharmacy companies, doctors and nurses have become the front line warriors fighting the war. Supporting them are the health care workers carrying out testing and contact tracing of the infected people. India has so far done a phenomenal job in restricting the number of affected people to 3000 odd cases(as I write this article), however, contact tracing remains crucial as we are trying our best to not go to the community transmission stage of the disease.

It is heartening to see the efforts put in by the administration, by the food delivery, online medicine platforms and the grocery delivery companies to ensure people get essential items without having to step out from the comfort of their homes. We are also seeing how India’s young workforce is using technology to continue working from home and finish their projects. Governments across the world are by and large relying on lockdowns to buy themselves time to gather crucial resources such as ventilators to fight the disease.

Contact tracing Apps

Contact tracing is essentially ascertaining who are the people who came in contact with the infected person. Since COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus has high incubation periods and infection rate this becomes extremely crucial. In such a scenario it is only apt that technology should be used as a means to overcome the biggest challenge of all, i.e., assist in contact tracing.

Countries like the US and the UK are also mulling the usage of Bluetooth or GPS based apps for contact tracing.

India’s Aarogya Setu is a  notable mention in this regard. The Indian government’s app is not just utilising technology like the TechTracing app, but also gives relevant information and advisories from time to time, reported Gadgets 360by NDTV. It gives people educational videos and information to safeguard themselves from the NovelCorona virus which causes COVID-19. It uses artificial intelligence algorithms, bluetooth & GPS to inform and alert you if you come in contact with someone who tested positive and it is available in 11 different languages. Aarogya Setu by the Indian Government is built on Haptik, a chatbot platform. The app has already seen over 8 million downloads in a little over 3 days and goes to show that Indians are ready to embrace technology as a tool to fight this pandemic. 

The app has caused privacy concerns among the users and in view of the welfare of the society at large, India has assured its citizens that she will not use this data for any purpose and it is only accessible by the government of India. This technology could also be utilised for any future national disaster emergencies with some minor tweaks. This app could be a powerful weapon and has the potential to be in every citizen’s hands.

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It's not how much we give
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Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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