Amid the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, India is seeing an acute shortage of oxygen cylinders and ICU beds. With that, people all across the country are sharing posts and tweets, pleading for necessary support on various social media platforms.
Several entrepreneurs and startups have stepped up to help these people in need, connecting them to verified leads and more.
One of them is Roposo founder Mayank Bhangadia, who has launched CloseApp with Harsha Chhabra, who led product development at Roposo. The app is available on Android and works in both English and Hindi.
CloseApp is a hyperlocal social app aimed at helping people get access to critical medical help by connecting them with volunteers in their area using their location.
“Social media posts did get a lot of support but not every post can have a lot of reach. These platforms are not designed to promote posts requesting COVID-19 related things. Certain hashtags can be used to promote your post. But when someone is waiting for an ambulance, which gets delayed, and their loved ones are suffering, help needs to come within minutes,” Mayank told YS.
Mayank, who founded Roposo (currently owned by InMobi’s Glance) in 2012, developed CloseApp after he and his family were infected and he saw people around him suffer.
The platform, which connects with volunteers in their area, is live all over India and anyone can ask for help and volunteer to help the team.
Mayank is tying up with NGOs and volunteer groups for CloseApp. Apart from that, anyone can sign up on the app to assist with any queries just like people do on social media platforms.
“Oxygen cylinders and ICU beds are only a part of what infected people are looking for. There is a shortage of basic medicines, nutritious food, and even someone to drive patients to hospitals. If you knew someone in your neighbourhood needed a home-cooked meal and you have enough resources to provide that then you would want to help. But you might not find their post on social media,” added Mayank.
CloseApp is available in English and Hindi
According to Mayank, CloseApp has many use cases and connecting people in the current crisis is only the tip of the iceberg.
“There are so many natural calamities happening across the country. And by the time the government support reaches those places many lives are already lost. Through this app people from the nearby districts can help with basic requirements urgently needed at the time,” he added.
Since April, several donation drives have taken place to support COVID-19 patients, their caregivers, and frontline professionals. Many have stepped forward to fulfil requests for plasma, medical help, and also food, among others.
Chef Saransh Goila of Goila Butter Chicken launched a digital platform for home cooks to sign up and connect with COVID-19 patients in need of nutritious meals.