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Contxto – So many official government hotlines and websites have been launched to tender to public concerns regarding coronavirus. The objective of these communication lines is to help identify potential cases of coronavirus, as well as deter panic.

But unfortunately, as many have come to attest, often these lines and sites are saturated with users. As a result, response times are pretty terrible. Sometimes requests for information are left completely unanswered. 

Most countries just weren’t prepared for the pandemic, and Peru is not the exception.

Consequently, healthtech Smart Doctor had announced that its chat system was available on its app for free to Peruvians who wanted to consult with a medical practitioner.

But things have taken a strange twist recently. On March 29, Contxto was informed that the startup’s app had been taken off of Google Play due to non-compliance with its Sensitive Events Policy.

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The (Smart) Doctor will see you now?

As Contxto has previously explored, some startups are launching freebie services to help people cope with remaining at home. Many of these offerings have an expiration date and may last a month or two.

But that’s not Peruvian Smart Doctor’s case.

“This service will be available until the alerts made by the Ministry of Health and the WHO [World Health Organization] are withdrawn,” said Christian Rivera, Smart Doctor’s CEO in a statement.

The startup went on to add that it will shoulder the costs of running this free service. Moreover, it has 300 doctors who’ve volunteered to help answer users’ painstaking questions.

Other healthcare concerns continue

Sure, controlling the coronavirus pandemic is at the forefront of many healthcare institutions’ concerns. The problem with that is that there are millions of other patients out there who are facing diseases besides Covid-19. And no doubt that their worries may be sidelined by everything that’s going on. 

So that’s why initiatives like Smart Doctor’s arose to address these additional issues.

One can only hope the pandemic is controlled soon. Offering free services for an undetermined amount of time surely affects their financial resources and takes a toll on their teams.

But that only makes Smart Doctor’s efforts all the more admirable.

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A lesson on what not to say

Unfortunately, Smart Doctor’s app has been taken offline.

The cause behind the suspension was reportedly due to its violation of Google’s Sensitive Events policy. According to this ruling, Google will block “apps that lack reasonable sensitivity towards or capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death, or other tragic event.”

Contxto reached out to the startup for commentary.

In written correspondence, Smart Doctor clarified that Google clamps down on apps that use terms such as “COVID-19,” “coronavirus,” and “pandemia.”

And that’s why it had been suspended in the first place. As a result, it has been redesigning its app so as to avoid using those words.

So keep your eyes peeled, the app should be back online soon.

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