How Corporates Are Helping India Fight the Second Wave of COVID-19-Part 7
Moneylife Digital Team 11 June 2021
A few weeks back when the country was dealing with the gruesome second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with hospitals running over-capacity along with massive shortage of health care facilities, medicines and oxygen, many corporates across India pitched in to help in COVID relief efforts. Moneylife has been tracking this in a special series. Here is the latest in the series.
 
Ambuja Neotia and ICICI Lombard have jointly opened the ‘Vinod Neotia COVID Care Centre’ — a 58-bed first-line COVID care facility in New Town, Kolkata. ICICI Lombard, has provided the medical equipment to the COVID Care centre, which comprises 48 oxygen-aided beds for mild or moderately affected COVID-19 patients and 10 high dependency unit (HDU) beds. The centre will provide nursing assistance and lab support 24×7, HDU beds for treating critical as well as mild COVID cases requiring hospitalization.
 
It will have specialist consultants on call, and provide phone triaging (interactive process between the nurse and the caller which is the patient in this case, to seeking guidance and query resolution multiple times in a day to minimize physical contact) — all in a protected area following infection control protocols and international standards. 
 
In case of patients requiring critical care treatment, they will be referred to a step-up COVID hospital. In that case, to extend support to those patients till they are transferred to the Critical Care Hospital, the HDU has been equipped with 7 ventilator cardiac monitors along with qualified nurse and technicians, in addition to the doctors.
 
In its efforts to provide support amid the current pandemic, ICICI Lombard is conducting a vaccination drive in Mumbai by covering around 60,000 disadvantaged people. It has also provided 1,000 oxygen concentrators across Nagpur, Delhi, and Lucknow, which have seen high number of COVID positive cases.
 
Finolex Industries has pledged more than Rs9 crore for the second wave of COVID-19. The manufacturing company, along with its corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm Mukul Madhav Foundation (MMF), has mobilised resources, globally and in India to augment COVID relief efforts in the country in collaboration with other corporates, non-government organisation (NGO) partners, philanthropic institutions, and like-minded individuals.
 
Through this collaboration, 945 oxygen concentrators, 218 ventilators, thermal scanners, PPE suits, oximeters, gloves, masks, sanitizers, and paracetamol tablets have been donated to COVID care centres, municipal hospitals, and rural hospitals across the country, especially in areas that have witnessed a surge in cases. 
 
The relief effort has safeguarded the accredited social health activist (ASHA) and auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) workers along with frontline COVID warriors in their fight against the virus. Support has been extended to many states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Goa, Orissa, Jharkhand, and Punjab. 
 
A large part of the relief operation’s success is attributed to the support received from Qatar Airways, which has flown in the equipment free of cost. The ground support provided by Ashok Leyland ensured that the equipment crossed the length and breadth of the country safely and urgently even to the most remote corners.
 
Finolex has been instrumental in helping with import licensing and volunteers from Finolex have driven the coordination effort with local authorities and verified appeal requests to get the relief to the right places.
 
Embassy group, one of India’s largest real estate conglomerates has rolled out a free vaccination drive for its employees across India. Through the initiative that kicked off on 1st June, the company aims to inoculate all 1,867 employees located in the Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, and NCR offices. The vaccine being administered is Covishield.
 
Along with awareness programs on following COVID related protocols at construction sites and work places, Embassy has also set up medical camps and regular health checks for construction workers. 
 
 
The Integrated Health and Wellbeing Council (IHW Council) has launched a dedicated COVID-19 relief project titled ‘Our Positive Fight’ for frontline workers and their families. 
 
The project includes setting up of use and return oxygen concentrator bank along with other useful medical devices such as pulse oximeters, thermometers, and other disposables such as masks, sanitisers, PPE kits especially for the benefit of frontline workers. 
 
Keeping in mind the risks that media professionals are facing in the line of duty, the IHW Council has joined hands with the Press Club of India to provide benefits of the project to the community. As part of the project, an initial batch of five oxygen concentrators has been provided to the club that in turn will ensure to allocate them to those in need on a free of cost use-and-return basis. Another batch of five oxygen concentrators has been provided to the Delhi police for its personnel. 
 
At present, the project is supported by Bharat Serums and Vaccines Ltd, Impactguru.com and Delhi-based health focussed public relations firm Teamwork Communication Group but the Council is reaching out to corporates for support and has initiated crowd-funding on fund-raising platforms such as Ketto.org.
 
Joining India’s fight against the pandemic, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) provided healthcare, medical-grade liquid oxygen, meals, and masks. It repurposed the Jamnagar plant to provide 1,000 tonnes oxygen per day free of cost to states, meeting the needs of nearly one lakh patients per day.
 
The company distributed more than 5.5 crore meals to over 27 lakh beneficiaries, supported over 2,300 beds for COVID care and treatment across locations including setting up of India’s first COVID hospital in Mumbai, distributed 81 lakh reusable masks to 50 lakh frontline warriors and essential service providers across 21 states and 2 union territories and provided 5.5 lakh litres of free fuel to more than 14,000 notified ambulances and vehicles engaged in COVID-19 services across 249 districts in 18 states. 
 
A manufacturing facility in Silvassa, Gujarat was ramped up to produce 1,00,000 PPE kits and masks every day to serve frontline workers. 
 
To help address urgent healthcare needs in India brought about by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, networking and telecom company Ericsson announced its support to UNICEF’s COVID-19 humanitarian response in the country.
 
Ericsson made an upfront donation to UNICEF and launched a month-long company matching employee donation drive globally in May, which resulted in a total donation amount of $971,567 to UNICEF. Ericsson employees from more than 95 countries donated towards this UNICEF initiative for India.
 
Ericsson’s donation will go towards providing critical medical supplies and equipment in India. This includes increasing the number of RT-PCR testing machines to boost identification of new COVID-19 cases and providing oxygen generation plants as well as procuring other critical supplies for health facilities in areas with the greatest needs in the country. These supplies and equipment will ensure continuity and sustained access to immediate health services for children and their families and contribute to strengthening the health system in the future.
 
 
Duroflex, a premium mattresses brand, has donated thousands of mattresses, ventilators and oxygen concentrators to medical facilities across the country.
Duroflex has donated 2000 mattresses towards COVID-19 relief in Shanthinagar Constituency – Bengaluru; Hemkunt Foundation in Mumbai for their COVID care facility in the Gurudwara; Kasturba Hospital, Mumbai, St. Josephs School Bengaluru, entrepreneur’s organisation setting up COVID facilities, children’s COVID facilities through Dream India Network and to Piramal Swasthya to help smaller towns such as Vidhisha and Sigrauli in Madhya Pradesh; Pakur and Sahibganj in Jharkhand and Jaipur have access to better healthcare facilities.
 
  
Duroflex has also supported hospitals with supply of ventilators. The Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore was supported with one ventilator while five ventilators were donated to Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai. Oxygen concentrators have been donated to Sion Hospital, Mumbai.
 
  
Additionally, Duroflex joined hands with Nalapad Ahmed Harris and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) at Shantinagar in Bengaluru to help them re-open a COVID care centre at the Government Arts College Hostel at Primrose Road, Bengaluru. The centre was supported with the supply of mattresses.
 
 
Legrand Group India, a specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructure along with Mid-Town Rotary club Chennai jointly donated twenty five oxygen cylinders to Omandarur Medical College, Chennai. 
 
 
Earlier too, Legrand India had initiated various activities like providing PPE kits, masks, sanitizers, medical infrastructure, formation of isolation wards and quarantine centres in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, and Haryana in fight against COVID-19. 
 
Legrand is extending support this year too by providing various levels of medical infrastructure support to different states including oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and ICU beds.
 
When the COVID-19 cases were at their peak in April-May 2021, relief aid from private companies helped the Karnataka state government to quickly upgrade health infrastructure in at least five hospitals over the last month. Three government hospitals located at Yelahanka, KR Puram and Anekal too are likely to get better facilities within the next two weeks as a Bengaluru-headquartered IT major has committed to fund the efforts. 
 
So far, corporates have committed about Rs55 to Rs60 crore for upgrading medical infrastructure. Under this arrangement, the Karnataka government identifies the hospitals that need facilities while the donor corporates directly fund the work.
 
The companies, which came forward include Texas Instruments, which contributed to establishing a modular ICU unit with 86 critical care beds at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, the Embassy Group who collaborated with McAfee, AXA, Yahoo, Capital Land SwissRe to donate about 100 ICU beds and Goldman Sachs which contributed Rs20 crore.
 
Wistron Manufacturing India has launched the Wistron WeCare India CSR program. The focus of the phase one program will be the district of Kolar. As part of the program, 1,000 face shields and 10,000 masks were handed over to the district police.
 
 
The company has launched a month-long CSR program to extend support and relief through emergency equipment, health kits, safety kits, food rations, as per need, to government agencies and centres, frontline workers, the poor and marginalized in the communities we operate.
 
The other CSR initiatives include hundreds of food ration kits and health kits to the poor and the marginalized living in and around the industrial area where the facility is located, an oxygen generator plant at a district or taluk hospital and distribution of oxygen concentrators at primary health centres.
 
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