Nonprofit organization Sewa International is sending an initial shipment of 400 oxygen concentrators and other emergency medical devices and supplies to India immediately and is working on procuring more from multiple suppliers around the world to ease oxygen shortage caused by the surging numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Sewa has launched the “Help India Defeat COVID-19” campaign to ship oxygen concentrators to Indian hospitals. Sewa is also providing food and medicines to about 10,000 families and more than 1000 orphanages, and senior citizen centers across the country. Sewa is aiming to raise $5 million for this effort, organization officials say.
A second wave of COVID-19 has overwhelmed India’s healthcare system and caused an acute shortage of oxygen, ventilators, and hospital beds across the country. With the number of new cases crossing 300,000 daily and a steady rise in number of fatalities, Indian hospitals are under serious stress to accommodate new patients.
“Sewa has already raised more than $1 million to help India in its hour of need. We are getting a great response from thousands of donors and expressing a deep desire to help India overcome this crisis. We thank them for their generous and timely contribution,” says Arun Kankani, president of Sewa International.
Kankani reveals that Sewa is working closely with many U.S. organizations to fund the effort, including the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
“Naturally, in the current situation, many Americans are concerned about the safety of their extended families and friends living in India. Hundreds of volunteers from Sewa and our partnering organizations are working on the ground in India. Right now, our top priority is to quickly acquire oxygen concentrators and ship them to India as it can save lives. We are also helping a few hospitals to extend their capacity to treat more COVID-19 patients,” Kankani adds.
Swadesh Katoch, Sewa’s vice president for disaster recovery, also spoke out about the initiative, commenting: “Sewa is building a Digital Helpdesk to provide critical information on ambulance services, hospital bed availability, and blood and medicinal supplies to people. We need not despair as India has many resources, but we can still help people win their fight against COVID-19.”