As the COVID-19 cases are on rise in the city, different volunteers and authorities are adopting high-tech “smart helmets” to achieve swiftness in screenings and identify suspected cases in Mumbai’s densely-populated slums. The portable thermos canners — previously deployed in Dubai, Italy and China — enable health workers to record the temperatures of dozens of residents per minute and could emerge as a key weapon in Mumbai’s quest to eradicate the virus from the city of 18 million.
Satish Patil, a medical helper affiliated with the non-profit group Kutumb told AV, “In a slum the population is very huge, it takes hours to screen one side of the favela. Old-style screening methods take a lot of time. Now the smart helmets are making it more convenient”
The helmets were donated to authorities in Mumbai and Pune, which have both been locked in a months-long battle against the pandemic, with cases across India soaring past one million. But with just two helmets in use in each city, the push to identify and isolate infected residents will take a long time.
The imported helmets — which cost around Rs 6,00,000 — are also in high demand in places like Dubai, said Ms Jain, making it very difficult to expand capacity.
“But when you use these helmets, all you have to do is ask people to come out of their homes, face them and you can screen 6,000 people in two-and-a-half hours,” said Neelu Jain, a medical volunteer affiliated with the non-profit group Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana.
COVID-19 warrior Shyam Tidke of Virar told Afternoon Voice, “Such gadgets might be making screening task easy, but it will take ages to reach those things in various corners, people are suffering starvation and life challenges, if we wait for spending 6,00000 we will lose at least 600 people in due process, what we are doing right now can be traditional method, but at least we are able to control the pandemic. Many such products came in the market, this is COVID time business, but no one buys it”.