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As Healthcare Workers Treat, Prevent And Protect, India Joins Hands To Assist Them In Fighting COVID-19

As Healthcare Workers Treat, Prevent And Protect, India Joins Hands To Assist Them In Fighting COVID-19

Highlights

  1. Campaign Caring For India is focused on our healthcare workers
  2. The campaign aims to protect healthcare workers from falling ill
  3. Money raised will be used for providing PPE kits to healthcare workers
New Delhi: 

Doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and other hospital staff are among the frontline warriors in a fight against COVID-19. They have been battling the Coronavirus pandemic since its outbreak and working within the limitations of an inadequate public healthcare system. India has 0.55 hospital beds per thousand population and less than 15 per cent of ICUs across the country have dedicated critical care doctors. In an attempt to bridge this gap, NDTV in collaboration with GiveIndia, a non-profit organisation has started a campaign ‘Caring For India'.

The campaign aims to help protect our medical caregivers in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in the country. To support our healthcare workers and protect them from falling ill themselves in the line of duty, the campaign has identified three areas - Door-to-door community screening in hotspots; providing certified personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and masks to save our saviours from the virus; scale plasma donation and facilitate safe home quarantine solutions in the country.

As part of the campaign, a special two-hour telethon was organised to initiate a conversation around protecting caregivers and healthcare workers, supplementing their efforts, scaling plasma donation, focusing on early detection and prevention and other things.

Atul Satija, Founder 2.0 and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at GiveIndia joined the telethon and talked about GiveIndia's journey spanning over 20 years. He said,

Give India started in 2000 to support our poor. We knew people who can help and far more number of people who needed that help. So we made a platform between those who can help and those who need. We also felt that only making the platform will not be enough. So we make sure to give our donors the confidence by verifying all donations.

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Atul Satija, Founder 2.0 and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at GiveIndia

At the telethon, Amit Chandra, Chairman, Bain Capital India Office, spoke about the importance of giving and said that it has two perspectives - without giving we cannot really build the nation that we want to see and aspire for; giving is about helping ourselves.

Govind Iyer, Managing Partner, Egon Zehnder and Board Director, GiveIndia, elaborated on the India COVID Response Fund by GiveIndia. Sharing the idea behind it, he said,

When COVID India Respond Fund was put together in March, the intent was very clear - to help those who are hit the worst. The areas we have touched are livelihoods, healthcare and humanitarian efforts. Through our livelihood efforts we have been able to benefit over 5,000 people and have provided cooked meals and rations to marginalised communities impacting more than 29 lakh people.

Adding to this, Somedutta Chatterjee, Head of Corporate Partnerships, GiveIndia, spoke about working with corporates and how it has aided GiveIndia's COVID response. She said,

In the last four to five months of COVID we have started employee fund raisers with over 50 corporates and we have cumulatively raised 6 crore to support the various relief initiatives that GI launched - ranging from giving sanitation kits to vulnerable masses to giving dry rations to communities to health care initiatives as well as direct cash transfers to migrant labour.

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Somedutta Chatterjee, Head of Corporate Partnerships, GiveIndia at #CaringForIndia telethon

Ms Chatterjee also mentioned about working with 40-50 corporates on healthcare initiatives - setting up isolation wards, providing PPE kits, face masks, shields, oxygen humidifiers, setting up facilities in quarantine zones, and providing ambulances for the mobile medical units.

Celebrity photographer Atul Kasbekar lent his support to Caring For India, a campaign focussed at supporting healthcare workers and appealed to save doctors from falling ill in the line of duty.

You can't have doctors sick; as simple as that. Saving our doctors is the most important, he said.

Devi Shetty, Founder of Narayana Health also joined the #CaringForIndia telethon and discussed the steps required to fight COVID-19 in an effective and efficient way. Giving tips, Mr Shetty said,

The most important way to control COVID is the responsibility of every citizen to protect themselves. If they do so, and stay away from the infection, they will break the cycle of spread. They will be doing a great service to themselves and to society. And from the policy point of view, we have come to a clear picture that COVID is now moving from big cities to small towns, districts, talukas and villages. So we need to educate them and create good healthcare infrastructure.

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Devi Shetty, Founder of Narayana Health at #CaringForIndia telethon

Mr Shetty also talked about healthcare in India and asked civic bodies to get together and try and help public hospitals bring in more transparency, accountability and try and support them.

Joining the telethon, Sandeep Sibal, CEO, Fourth Frontier and Board Member, Give India, also stressed on the need of healthcare to fight the pandemic. Mr Sibal said that the experience of other countries show that the failure of the healthcare system can be lethal and added,

In India also, we studied the hotspots and found the same problem. Within healthcare also, it is very important to protect the healthcare workers, our protectors.

Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, Former National President, Indian Medical Association shared the same views and very categorically said that healthcare workers are still in the dire need of personal protective gears.

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Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, Former National President, Indian Medical Association

Masks are to be made compulsory. All the celebrities, opinion makers must wear proper fitting masks all the time every where. Here all NGOs can pitch in. Even the political and community leaders at local level should come on to streets and make the community aware and make people wear masks. Mask is the only vaccine presently available, noted Dr Ravi Wankhedkar.

To help the nation in putting a tough fight against COVID-19, GiveIndia along with Doctors For You has deployed six mobile medical units at slums in Mumbai's Govandi. The mobile medical units screen the residents for COVID -19, identify and isolate potential carriers, and provide free medicines, masks and soaps.

Also Read: In Mumbai's Govandi, Mobile Medical Units Screen People For COVID-19

Talking about the success of mobile medical units and how it is helping curb the community transmission of COVID-19 in Mumbai, Rajat Jain, President of Doctors For You, said

Through screening, we were able to find out more than 55 patients who were COVID positive and they were having hypoxia (absence of enough oxygen in the tissues). Now, with our intervention, they are being treated in the hospitals and we were able to save them. Similarly, we conducted these screening programmes at a lot of pediatric places and were able to identify a lot of pediatric age group COVID positive patients.

Dia Mirza, Actor, Producer, UNEP Goodwill Ambassador and UN Secretary General's Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals, also joined the #CaringForIndia telethon and showed support to the frontline warriors - healthcare workers bearing the burden of the Coronavirus pandemic. She also lauded the citizens group for extending the helping hand during a pandemic.

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At #CaringForIndia telethon actor Dia Mirza showed support to healthcare workers

I don't think we know how to see a problem and not address it with empathy. What has motivated me in these uncertain times is how the citizens groups have come up to help others. It is amazing to see the level of altruism, said Dia Mirza.

Satyender Jain, Minister of Health, Delhi, discussed the improvement in COVID-19 situation in Delhi and thanked the citizens and NGOs for supporting and contributing in the fight against COVID-19. Elaborating on home quarantine in Delhi, Mr Jain said,

People in home quarantine are being taken care of properly. Our medical staff go to their home, provide pulse oximeter and check on them frequently. People have gained trust and there is no longer the fear of not getting a bed in a hospital. 

The national capital Delhi was the first to start plasma therapy which is considered as a potential treatment for critically ill COVID patients on a large scale. On July 2,the country's first plasma bank was set-up at Delhi's ILBS (Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences) Hospital. Discussing plasma therapy which is one of the key points of Caring For India campaign, Dr Swapneil Parikh, Co-author of The Coronavirus Book and Co-founder Plasma Yoddha, said,

Plasma can help nuetralise the virus and help the patients early on in the disease. It is a passive form of immunity which can be transferred from one person to another. There is a huge potential in studying convalescent plasma.

Talking about fighting COVID-19 while ensuring availability of healthcare infrastructure for critically-ill COVID-19 patients and at the same time protecting caregivers, Meena Ganesh, CEO and Managing Director, Portea Medical, stressed on home quarantine. Portea Medical has worked with various governments in providing home based treatment to COVID-19 patients. Sharing the success story, Ms Ganesh said,

A total of over 50,000 COVID positive patients have been monitored by us, of which 45,000 have been discharged which means they are fine and back to normal life. The balance 5,000 are still being monitored. A total of 3 per cent, in fact less maybe 2.5 per cent patients, had to be hospitalised. All the others that is 97.5 per cent patients have recovered from home or continued to be monitored. This is a huge benefit for the healthcare ecosystem.

At #CaringForIndia telethon, Nachiket Mor, Member, ACT Grants Advisory Group and Visiting Scientist, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health, also supported home quarantine. He said, almost 80 per cent of the people who are infected recover without treatment necessary at all.

80 per cent  of the remaining 20 per cent that do need treatment recover with basic oxygen therapy which comprises low flow oxygen and high flow oxygen, well before they need ventilation, said Mr Mor.

Through the Caring For India campaign, GiveIndia aims to bridge all the gaps in the healthcare system and help the nation in its fight against COVID-19. Before signing off, Atul Satija, Founder 2.0 and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at GiveIndia reiterated the focus of the campaign and said,

Doctors, nurses, paramedics and others like ASHA workers and those who are providing essential services will be our focus. I appeal to all those who are in need to come to our platform and we will help them raise funds.

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About The Campaign

About The Campaign

Our doctors, nurses and other hospital staff have been carrying the heavy burden of the pandemic while working within the limitations of an inadequate public healthcare system.

With 0.55 hospital beds per thousand population, and under 15% of ICUs across the country having dedicated critical care doctors, this campaign is to help bridge some of these gaps for better patient outcomes and to make sure our healthcare workers are safe themselves.

To support our healthcare workers and protect them from falling ill themselves in the line of duty, we have identified three areas of intervention in India’s battle against coronavirus:

  1. Door-to-door community screening in hotspots 
  2. Provide certified PPE kits and masks to save our saviours from the virus
  3. Scale plasma donation and facilitate safe home quarantine solutions