20 Apr 2020 17:10 IST

IIM-K student leads global team in developing Covid-19 platform

The one-stop resource gives information on emergency services from official government sources

An international team led by an Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode student has pioneered a vital digital tool to fight the COVID-19 pandemic of misinformation. The website ‘COVID FYI’ (covidfyi.in) is a one-stop digital directory for all Covid19 related services and help released by official sources, says a press release from IIM-K.

The website aims to bring the right information from the right sources to the right people, as only official information from government organisations is put on this platform to ensure authenticity and credibility.

The platform is for citizens, government organisations/institutions alike and provides authenticated information on authorised labs near the person with the app; designated hospitals, grocery stores, mental health, emergency helplines, task force team contact, field officers contact, emergency doctors to call, fever clinics nearby, among other features.

Additional features in the pipeline would enable the user to book appointments with doctors, schedule sample collections, find a helpline for an emergency all the while staying at home and maintaining social distancing, as advised.

In a statement, Prof Debashis Chatterjee, Director IIMK, said, “Innovation, research and leadership are the three greatest thrust areas we emphasise on, during management education at IIMK. We are elated that this effort spearheaded by a student from this institute will contribute greatly to a society which is facing a crisis of this magnitude. This platform has not only successfully brought together multiple stakeholders but has also augmented efforts of good governance and implementation with the access to authenticated information in this age of misinformation and an hour of crisis.”

The core team of 16, led by a PGPM student of IIM-K, Simran Soni, also consists of researchers, medical students and developers working from countries such as Germany and the US with the support of many more volunteers who assisted them in timely updating of COVID FYI.

Elaborating further, Soni, a student of the PGP 23 batch of IIM-K, and Team Lead of the COVID FYI Project, added “Critical information like where to go, who to contact, what to do, is scattered across multiple websites and multiple forms. We felt the need to put this information at one place to make it more accessible, and have all types of emergency services for the people to avail at this hour of crisis.”

The idea originated at the coronathon.in (hackathon for Covid-19 India) and has been completed with zero funding. Soni also added “The Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Government of Karnataka, has already integrated our platform in its official website. We are also in advanced talks to partner with other State governments as we will need government support to increase outreach and thereby save lives.”