- Oxygen cylinders are provided to both COVID and non-COVID patients
- Oxygen cylinders are provided for free for 48 hours
- A doctor’s prescription is required to collect an oxygen cylinder
New Delhi: With the rise in Novel Coronavirus cases in India, the healthcare system in various parts of the country is overwhelmed. Reports from Delhi and Maharashtra show that the states are not only facing the problem of lack of healthcare infrastructure but manpower as well. One such case is of six months pregnant woman from Maharashtra who lost her life because of a lack of oxygen support. In May, the woman suddenly faced breathing issues and was rushed to a hospital but while some hospitals asked for a COVID-19 negative report, others didn’t have an oxygen cylinder. Amidst moving from one hospital to another, the woman passed away in an auto.
This is the story of my friend and business partner Abbaas Rizvi’s cousin. When Abbas told me about this, I felt, the family didn’t lose one person, they lost two – the woman and the child who was about to enter this world, recalls Shahanawaz Shaikh while speaking to NDTV.
The personal loss came like a reality check for the duo. Further, a little research showed that during a Coronavirus pandemic, hospitals are struggling to provide oxygen cylinders to people in need.
Since the start of the nationwide lockdown, we (Unity and Dignity Foundation) have been working in terms of sanitising areas and providing ration kits to migrants. When Abbaas discussed the demise of his cousin and we realised about the state of healthcare in Mumbai, we decided to provide oxygen cylinders, says Mr Shaikh, founder of Unity and Dignity Foundation, a Mumbai based NGO.
As part of the initiative, the duo provides oxygen cylinders to both COVID and non-COVID patients in Mumbai. Mr Shaikh says that anyone who needs oxygen and is unable to get an admission in any hospital or is under home quarantine can call us. Either someone from the patient’s family can collect the oxygen cylinder or if need be, the duo delivers the cylinder.
The oxygen cylinder is provided for 48 hours to people who need it urgently. It’s a free service; all we ask for is a doctor’s prescription. In 48 hours, if a patient gets better and doesn’t require external oxygen support or finds a bed in a hospital, he/she can return it to us, says Mr Shaikh.
The campaign that was started on June 10 soon picked up momentum and today the team gets calls from all across Mumbai. According to the team, they have supplied around 250 cylinders so far, and, on average, the daily requirement is 25 cylinders.
Since we are catering to non-COVID patients as well who are finding it difficult to get admission in hospitals because of Coronavirus pandemic, we are getting a lot of requests. This is the reason I sold my SUV car to buy more cylinders and address the growing needs of people. Fortunately, as of now, we have neither said no to anyone nor appealed for donation or funding. I hope we are able to continue with this and tide over the crisis, signs off Mr Shaikh.