For every questionable deed, there are a thousand good Samaritans doing their bit for the needy amid the second wave of the pandemic in India. Whether it’s finding oxygen beds in hospitals or donating to various verified organisations across India, or even providing home-cooked meals to the vulnerable, there is no dearth of do-gooders that have stepped up with extraordinary COVID-19 services. Bookmark the following COVID-19 initiatives that are making an indelible mark on society right now.
Wishes and Blessings, a COVID-19 initiative launched in March 2020, has launched free ambulance services for COVID-19 patients in Delhi. It will take patients from their homes to the closest hospital or treatment facility. Apart from free ambulance services, the NGO is also providing oximeters, Paracetamol, masks, sanitisers, and other medical essentials to shelter homes and night shelters across the national capital.
At the moment, there are two ambulances on standby — one is emergency-ready with an oxygen cylinder, and the other is a regular, non-oxygen ambulance. You can contact +91 85956 20046 for a non-oxygen ambulance and +91 83688 86870 for an oxygen-equipped ambulance. The services will be available for 12 hours every day, all days of the week, and will initially cater to calls from the south and southwest regions of Delhi.
The NGO is also distributing crucial medical equipment to residents of shelter homes and night shelters (rain-baseras) in Sarai Kale Khan, Delhi Gate, Munirka, Safdarjung, Okhla, and other parts of Delhi.
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Find A Bed initiative, launched on May 7, 2021, doubles as a large repository of vacant COVID centres from across the country. An initiative by India’s International Movement to Unite Nations (I.I.M.U.N), a 26,000-member-strong youth organisation, this website claims to be the first national compilation of COVID-19 centres in India. While the website only displays the number of available COVID-19 Centres — and not beds — it still comes as a blessing in these tough times.
On the website, sift through COVID-19 centres based on city, pin code, or name of the centre. Moreover, you can even filter results according to free or paid centres. On clicking the search button, a database of relevant addresses springs up, so you can call the desired centre and enquire about available beds.
Although Find A Bed is entirely youth-run, the initiative has received immense support on social media from medical industry members and celebrities alike. Hindi film fraternity personalities such as director-producer Karan Johar; actors Sonakshi Sinha, Sidharth Malhotra, and Boman Irani; singer Shaan; and choreographer Shiamak Davar, fashion designer Anita Dogre and author Chetan Bhagat are among its cause ambassadors.
Started on May 1, 2021, by a Mumbai-based couple Dr Marcus Ranney and Dr Raina Ranney, MedsForMore is a COVID-19 initiative that began with an aim to collect unused coronavirus medicines to help underprivileged citizens. These medicines are provided to those who have neither access nor accessibility.
This people-led initiative has gained momentum across their residential locality, and within 10 days of launching, their team of eight members had received contributions from over a hundred buildings and collected 20kg of medicines. This simple yet elegant idea quickly brewed the idea for #MedsForMore, which is now a pan India movement. Besides Mumbai, they are running the campaign in Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata. They will be launching it in four new locations next week. As of today, MedsForMore has crossed 125kg collection of tablets in Mumbai.
MedsForMore has also partnered with various NGOs across India to ensure these collections reach primary health care centres in rural parts of the country to provide these medicines to patients for free. The list of NGOs includes Goonj, Doctors For You, Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, and Rotary Club Queens Necklace, among others.
Launched in June 2020, BigOHealth is a free online doctor consultation app that is catering to the needs of the underprivileged in rural parts of India. Started by Gaurav Rajput, a computer science graduate, the app was initially designed in 2018 as part of his student project. Little did he know that in three years, the app would become somewhat of a phenomenon in a fight against COVID-19.
Rajput noticed a gap when people from places like Bareilly would come to AIIMS, Delhi, to seek medical help amid the pandemic. Via this app, patients can get free consultations for COVID-19, whereas specialists such as gynaecologists, dentists, dermatologists, paediatricians and general physicians charge a fee between Rs 199 and Rs 1,500. Currently, the app is available in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. So far, they have consulted over 8,000 patients with the help of 250 doctors.