When Chennai resident Latha Ramesh’s father fell sick in August last year, her options for help were limited. Covid was still rampaging through the country, nearby clinics were shut, and hospitals were both crowded and risky. Racking her brain for a solution, she remembered a WhatsApp message about an app, eSanjeevani, that offered free teleconsultations from the safety of her home.

Ramesh downloaded the government-run app on her smartphone and sought help. Within ten minutes, a doctor from Dharmapuri—a town 300 kilometres away—flashed on her screen. After describing her father’s symptoms to the doctor, he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and prescribed medicines to treat it.