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#SalutingTheCovidHeroes Townhall: Thanking Ordinary People For Their Extraordinary Contributions During COVID

When times got tough during the second wave of the COVID-19 crisis, many across India decided to step forward and take the lead in helping those is need. From providing food, oxygen, medicines, ambulance services to those who helped with last rites of those who succumbed to the disease. #SalutingTheCovidHeroes Townhall is an attempt to honour these people who restored faith in humanity at a time when many were going through trauma of death and suffering. Here are some highlights from the Townhall

'We have all been through a really excruciating period both physically and mentally and unfortunately, deeply emotionally', said Dr Prannoy Roy about the second wave of COVID-19 at NDTV-Dettol India's Saluting The COVID Heroes Townhall. Dr Roy sets the agenda for the Townhall, to express gratitude to ordinary people who worked relentlessly and selflessly to help India cope with the pandemic.

Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, who got infected with COVID-19 last year in August and was admitted to a hospital, shared his experience of fighting the disease under expert guidance and care. Lauding the spirit of healthcare workers, Mr Bachchan said, 'You cannot believe the kind of effort they all make to make you comfortable. They don't go home; 24 hour, round-the-clock, they are there in their suits, in their attire, attending to you.'

Laxman Narasimhan, CEO, Reckitt also joined the Townhall to pay his tribute to the COVID warriors. Appreciating the healthcare workers and other frontline warriors - people from the community who stood up to be counted, Mr Narasimhan said, 'They have in a lot of ways stitched India together in so many wonderful ways.'

Gaurav Jain, SVP, South Asia, Reckitt too extended his support to the Townhall and highlighted the evolving role of Dettol during the two waves of the pandemic. When the pandemic began, Dettol's role was to educate people about COVID-19 appropriate behaviour - handwashing with soap, wearing a mask and keeping a social distance. However, this year during the second wave, their role evolved to being a harbinger of hope.

Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS appreciated the resilience of Indian citizens in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic which he believes has been ?very heartening for healthcare workers'. Dr Guleria emphasised on following COVID precautions to prevent the subsequent waves of the pandemic and vaccination to reduce transmission.

SalutingTheCovidHeroes, a special Townhall, featured some of the COVID-19 heroes; Himanshu and Twinkle Kalia, Delhi's ambulance couple being one of them. The husband-wife duo has been running a free ambulance service for ferrying patients for almost two decades now. Going beyond the call of duty, the couple fetches medicines, arranges funerals and sometimes, steps in to perform last rites as well.

Read their full story here.

Various other heartwarming stories of love and care came up during the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the story of Ronita Krishna Sharma Rekhi, a lactating mother of a four-month-old girl, from Assam. Ms Rekhi volunteered to breastfeed newborns who have either lost their mothers to COVID-19 or whose mothers have tested positive and are in isolation.

Similarly, Dattatraya Sawant, a school teacher from Mumbai stepped up to help the coronavirus patients by providing a rickshaw service from hospital to home and vice versa for free.

Another COVID warrior whose story inspired everyone is Dr Harmandeep Singh Boparai who after working in the US came back to India to help the country fight the second wave.Read more.

The townhall was also joined by a doctor couple from Mumbai - Dr Marcus Ranney and Dr Raina Ranney - who have extended a helping hand by providing medicines to people. Together they started Meds For More, a citizen-led initiative to collect unused or leftover and unexpired medicines from COVID recovered patients and provide them to those in need and cannot afford it.

Here's how they have collected over 500 kgs of medicines.

On #SalutingTheCovidHeroes Townhall, Dr VK Paul (Member), Health, NITI Aayog, shared the biggest learning from the two COVID waves, ?never let the guard down' which essentially means following the basic precautionary measures like wearing masks and maintaining social distaance. Dr Paul also called for ramping up the infrastructure to prepare for future waves.

Sangita Reddy, Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals talked about the possibility of the third wave of COVID-19 and laid emphasis on breaking the vaccine hesitancy. Ms Reddy said that it's important to send across the right message about vaccines that is vaccination may not prevent an individual from contracting COVID-19 but it can reduce the impact of the virus and prtotect people from severe illness.

Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi shed light on the impact of COVID-19 on children and called the pandemic a ?crisis of the entire civilisation, childhood, innocence, and the crisis of the future of the entire generation of the world'. Mr Satyarthi suggested preparing for the third wave keeping children in mind and also looking towards reopening schools.

The impact of COVID-19 on children was discussed at length with Dr Amit Sen, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and Director & Co-founder of Children First. Dr Sen talked about the mental health of children and how the pandemic might have a deep-seated impact which may unfold over months, years and generations.

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