In the last several weeks, AID has been actively supporting its partners in responding to the devastating second wave of COVID. This work has become all the more critical because, even though the country has already suffered severe losses, the worst effects are yet to come. In order to mitigate the huge potential loss of lives and livelihoods, especially in rural areas which are less well supported, AID has been following a three-level strategy.
The first step is to reduce the number of infections by spreading awareness about COVID best practices and encouraging people to get vaccinated. The second step is to make basic healthcare such as telemedicine, call centres and helpdesks accessible to rural communities, and reduce the number of hospitalizations. The third step is to increase access to oxygen, ventilation, and hospital care for those seriously ill.
In response to the urgent need for quality healthcare, several of our partners have been setting up hospitals that will give rural communities access to oxygen, emergency care, and trained professionals. This will address the second and third steps of our plan.
Long time partners Jan Swasthya Sahyog (Chattisgarh) and Tribal Health Initiative (Sittilingi, Tamil Nadu) have already set up rural COVID centers to give support to those who are sick and need oxygen or other medical support. We are also talking with some newer partners who are trying to set up temporary rural hospitals for the next 2 to 3 months which will be a critical time through the peak of the crisis.
In the Sunderban region of West Bengal, our partner Mukti is setting up COVID care centers with oxygen support, medicines and oximeters. One center will serve a village of about a 1000 households.
Similarly, in Nagari, Birbhum district, West Bengal, AID has supported a rural field hospital set up by the Liver Foundation. The centers will have 2 doctors and 2 nurses, as well as a minimal stock of lifesaving drugs.
Elsewhere, in Gujarat, Janpath has turned an unused Community Health Centre in Banaskantha district into a 20 bed COVID centre within the span of a week. AID is collaborating with the group Programme for Social Action and alumni from IIT Kanpur on this and related projects.
Through such initiatives, people can breathe a little easier when the entire country is gasping for air, credibility, and hope.
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