Covid19 Tech Impact
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Global businesses and countries have reached out to India to provide support even as the country reported a high of 3,52,991 fresh Covid cases and 2,812 deaths on Sunday, April 25. US ecommerce giant Amazon has joined hands with ACT Grants (a collective of India’s startup ecosystem to combat Covid), Singapore-based Temasek Foundation, Pune Platform for COVID-19 Response (PPCR) and other partners to urgently airlift over 8000 oxygen concentrators and 500 BiPAP machines from Singapore.
One of the major reasons for the high number of deaths in India has been the lack of access to critical medical aid such as hospital beds, plasma transfusions, oxygen cylinders and medicines like remdesivir and tocilizumab. Even top private hospitals in the national capital Delhi are turning away new patients as they are unsure of having enough medical supplies. Oxygen concentrators provide supplemental oxygen for patients with severe breathing difficulties. BiPAP machines offer a form of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) therapy used to facilitate breathing
The companies and organisations are working closely with the Indian government to expedite the import of these oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines. These medical equipment will be donated to hospitals and public institutions to augment their capacity to help Covid-infected patients across multiple cities.
In a blog post, Amazon India said that it will bear the cost of airlifting these oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines, procured through multiple donors including ACT Grants and PPCR (anchored in the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture or MCCIA) from Singapore to India, through Air India and other international carriers. Additionally, Amazon will also manage the movement of these oxygen concentrators and other donations from the local airport to identified hospitals and institutions. The first of these consignments will land in Mumbai on 25 April, 2021 and a majority of the shipping is expected to be completed by 30th April.
“COVID-19 has severely impacted India in unimaginable ways. We stand firmly with the country, deploying our global logistics network to urgently airlift the needed oxygen concentrators to support the nation’s immediate need. We continue to explore other meaningful ways to help in saving lives and are committed to support the nation in this time of crisis.” said Amazon India chief Amit Agarwal.
Additionally, the ecommerce giant is also procuring more than 1,500 oxygen concentrators and other critical medical equipment that will be donated to hospitals and medical facilities in partnership with multiple non-profits including Swasth, Concern India and impact organisations like ACT Grants and Sattva Consulting.
Meanwhile, a group of startup founders called Gurgaon Entrepreneurs have launched a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of procuring oxygen concentrators. The group has collected over INR 5 Cr to source concentrators from China, with donations pouring in from the startup community and celebrities such as Taapsee Pannu. The initial goal was to raise INR 2.5 Cr for 500 concentrators. The other entrepreneurs who are leading the efforts through this community are Snehil Khanor of TrulyMadly, Mansha Kaur of Heart On My Sleeve, Hubhopper founder Gautam Raj Anand, Rahul Agarwal and Varun Agarwal of Designhill, Rahul Hari of Satvacart, Uday Anand of Mycrushfit, Gautam Ghai of Sourcefuse, Cuttlfish founder Shikher Gupta, among others.
The campaign is looking to raise INR 5 Cr through crowdfunding platform Ketto and is still looking for individuals to contribute to the efforts.
Delhi-NCR based logistics startup Delhivery has taken a similar initiative to airlift medical essentials from global locations to India.