One part of the Covid nightmare in India is the mass death of doctors from catching the virus. The national registry of Indian Medical Association (IMA) shows that 747 doctors have died of Covid-19. Dr Jayesh Lele, secretary general of IMA, told The Indian Express.
Doctors and medical staff are the heart of any health service, therefore the mass death of doctors will hit the Indian people the hardest, as there was a shortage of medical assistance even before the doctors died.
In India, to become a doctor takes approximately 5.5 years to gain an MBBS Degree. The ratio for India’s population of 1.33 billion was 1.8 million registered medical graduates making up a ratio of 1.34 doctors per 1,000 Indian citizens as of 2017. Therefore, 747 registered deaths from coronavirus in 2021 may be seen as a drop in the ocean, however in real terms, there will be a definite effect to an already strained Indian health service. We have to also take into account delayed statistical information when reporting such numbers, as of writing, the number of deaths may have increased even higher. Many deaths are also undercounted resulting in false tallies.
As daily Covid infections reach a fantastic 400,000, on May 1st, doctors are now calling for another lockdown to try to curb the rate of infection.
DOCTORS FOR YOU is a registered society founded by doctors, medical students and like-minded people in 2007 to provide medical help for all. During the pandemic, DFY has been active in several states of the country providing everything from medical care to PPE kits. In Delhi, it helped set up and manage the 100-bed COVID care facility at Shehnai Banquet Hall, LNJP Hospital Extension Centre, as well as the CWG Village facility which has 500 beds. Its Karnataka team is managing two COVID care facilities while in Mumbai, DFY provided support to healthcare facilities under its #ProtectTheProtector initiative.
Located in Gurugram, Haryana, the foundation is helping people in need of oxygen by providing cylinders for a refundable deposit of Rs 10,000 for those who can pay. They also have a ‘drive thru’ facility that lets COVID-19 patients inhale oxygen from the cylinders at their office free of cost. Of the 12,000 calls they claim to be receiving every day for the past few weeks, the NGO is able to help around 30-40 percent of them as of now.
One of the world’s most renowned humanitarian organisations, Khalsa Aid’s India chapter is helping COVID-19 patients in Delhi-NCR with oxygen concentrators for free. Within two days of launching their WhatsApp helpline on April 23, Khalsa Aid was inundated with more than 3,000 requests. Besides oxygen concentrators, the NGO is also helping people with wood for cremation.
From providing free oxygen cylinders to other life-saving equipment, GiveIndia is one of the many non-profits trying to help people affected by the coronavirus. It had last year raised Rs 220 crore which helped more than 56 lakh Indians in over 115 cities during the first wave. At the same time, GiveIndia had activated a fundraiser to help people with food raising Rs 33 lakh. According to GiveIndia, Rs 1,750 can help one family have two meals a day for one week. Both the fundraisers have been reactivated.
There are multiple fundraisers on Milaap that aim to provide everything from food for COVID-19 patients isolated in various parts of Delhi to meet the shortage of oxygen in hospitals. For instance, Swasth Digital Health Foundation along with ACT Grants are aiming to raise Rs 1.5 crores to procure concentrators and deploy them where needed. According to them, 10,000 concentrators have already been secured but more are needed due to the crumbling situation.
On April 26, Milaap joined hands with fintech and e-commerce platform CRED to help meet the oxygen and other healthcare needs. The CRED Coins, earned by users when they pay their credit card bills on time, can be donated to help in procuring oxygen. For every 10,000 CRED Coins donated, 1,000 litres of oxygen are sent to hospitals.
The Delhi-based NGO is trying to help the homeless by distributing 10,000 ‘wellness kits’ under their campaign #StayWell. The kits contain paracetamol, ORS and an oximeter among other essential over the counter medicines. The aim is to give the underprivileged in the Capital a chance to fight COVID-19. They are also raising funds to help the extremely needy with food and supplies.
‘Mission Oxygen’ is the name of the campaign by Democracy People Foundation to help hospitals with oxygen concentrators. The non-profit initiative has a requirement of 3000 concentrators and has managed to procure 1300 from China at the time of writing. Democracy People Foundation is led by a group of young founders — Rahul Aggarwal and Varun Aggarwal of Designhill, Rahul Hari Saxena of Satvacart, Shikher Gupta of Cuttlefish and Uday Anand of Crush Fitness India.
Started in 2020 during the initial months of the pandemic in India, the initiative has been helping the poor and unemployed in Mumbai with cooked meals and ration kits which include rice, wheat, oil and salt among other items. They have been working in Govandi, a slum and dumping ground in the Maharashtra capital, where daily wage workers and other poorer sections of the society live.
The NGO started as a citizen-led movement to help migrant workers during the national lockdown in the early months of the pandemic last year. They have so far helped close to six lakh migrant workers, distributed 47 lakh meals in Mumbai and supplied 20,000 ration kits. The organisation has over 200 citizen volunteers including actors, students, professionals and chefs.