Covid19 Tech Impact
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Amid a severe shortage of oxygen in Delhi-NCR hospitals, a group of startup founders called Gurgaon Entrepreneurs launched a crowdfunding campaign a week back (April 23) with the goal of procuring oxygen concentrators.
Having started off with a goal of raising INR 2.5 Cr, The group of 250 entrepreneurs has so far collected INR 21.5 Cr to source concentrators from China, with donations pouring in from the startup community and celebrities such as Taapsee Pannu, Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan among others. Now, the campaign has extended its fundraise goal to INR 30 Cr and is still looking for individuals to contribute to the efforts through crowdfunding platform Ketto.
The entrepreneurs who are leading the efforts through this community are Snehil Khanor of TrulyMadly, Hubhopper founder Gautam Raj Anand, Rahul Agarwal and Varun Agarwal of Designhill, Uday Anand of Crush Fitness, Cuttlfish founder Shikher Gupta and others.
Rahul Agarwal, whose family trust Democracy People Foundation started the initiative, said that orders for 6,000 concentrators have been placed and all the machines are of 10 litre/minute specification and above with 93%+ air purity with 220V power.
The status of delivery of the concentrators is as follows:
- 100 pieces delivered in India on April 30 and distributed to 14 hospitals.
- 50 pieces getting on a plane on today (May 1) from Shanghai via Turkish Airlines
- 50 pieces under custom clearance at Hong Kong
- 300 pieces are being dispatched from the factory today.
- 500 pieces getting custom cleared at Beijing Airport.
- 300 pieces getting custom cleared at Beijing Airport.
- 800 pieces will be airlifted with a charter on May 4 from Beijing.
- 1500 pieces will leave Wuhan on 13th via a dedicated charter
- 1100 pieces will leave Beijing on 15th via a dedicated charter
- 2000 pieces will leave either Beijing or Wuhan (not fixed) via dedicated charter between May 18-20.
“We have 40-50 people on ground in China across Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guanghzao, Beijing. We understand the on ground situation in China and have the supply chain completely in control despite the chaos and we know time is of essence, so we have moved very quickly to procure complete air cargo loads of concentrators required for dedicated charters from China starting May 10, considering that China is closed from May 1 to 5 and nothing that is ordered now can move out before that,” said Agarwal
Oxygen Concentrators In Demand Amid Supply Bottlenecks
Over the past two weeks, hospitals in Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and other states have been running short of oxygen for Covid patients as the number of new cases reported have shot up drastically to over 4 Lakh per day across India. Even as hospitals have declared publicly that they don’t have enough oxygen to treat patients, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has requested the central government to increase the state’s daily quota for oxygen from the current 480 tonnes to 700 tonnes.
According to a Business Today report, at full capacity, India’s daily oxygen production far outpaces the volume supplied. At current rate, daily medical oxygen consumption is only 54% of production capacity on April 12, 2021. The reason why patients who require urgent oxygen support are unable to get it is an acute shortage of cylinders and cryogenic tankers to transfer the liquid gas from plants to hospitals. This means that even though the scarcity of oxygen is largely due to the supply bottlenecks.
In the absence of oxygen tanks, oxygen concentrators have become critical for those who require assistance. While both oxygen cylinders and concentrators help patients breathe more freely through an oxygen mask, the difference lies in the fact that cylinders need to be refilled whereas concentrators collect atmospheric air, concentrate it and process the oxygen from this.
A look at listings of oxygen concentrators on IndiaMART shows that their price ranges from INR 26,000 to over INR 2 Lakh depending on the brand and concentration capacity. According to an ET report, concentrators are in short supply and the two largest producers in India — Philiips and BPL — are out of stock. They told the publication that they don’t expect fresh supplies to the market to resume before a fortnight.