Salute The COVID Heroes Who Selflessly Helped India Fight COVID-19

Salute The COVID Heroes Who Selflessly Helped India Fight COVID-19

At the Banega Swasth India’s Saluting The COVID Heroes Townhall, Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan virtually met, acknowledged and congratulated some of the extraordinary COVID heroes who led by example and to help people in need
At Saluting The COVID Heroes Townhall, Amitabh Bachchan virtually met, acknowledged and congratulated some of the COVID WarriorsAt Saluting The COVID Heroes Townhall, Amitabh Bachchan virtually met, acknowledged and congratulated some of the COVID Warriors
Highlights
  • Twinkle and Himanshu Kalia run a free ambulance service in NCR
  • Ronita Krishna Sharma breastfeed newborns who lost their mothers to COVID
  • Dr Harmandeep Singh is a Doctor from New York who is working in India

New Delhi: The second wave of COVID-19 may be etched with traumatic memories of suffering, struggle for survival and the pall of death. But it will also be remembered for the spirit of many Indians who came forward to share the distress, agony and mitigate the pain of fellow citizens. From ferrying COVID patients to performing last rites, from feeding the sick and the hungry to coordinating help for oxygen cylinders, beds and medicnes, these COVID warriors led by example and restored faith in humanity during the darkest hour of the pandemic.

At the Banega Swasth India’s Saluting The COVID Heroes Townhall, Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan virtually met, acknowledged and congratulated some of these extraordinary heroes and their sefless initiatives.

Here are some exemplary work being done by organisations, corporates and individuals to help people affected by the pandemic in different ways.

Also Read: Crowds Without Masks In Hill Stations, A Matter Of Concern: PM Modi At COVID-19 Review Meet

‘Ambulance Couple’ AKA Twinkle and Himanshu Kalia

Twinkle and Himanshu Kalia have been running a free ambulance service in the national capital. Twinkle, a cancer survivor, is India’s first woman ambulance driver. The couple joined the Townhall and spoke with Mr Bachchan who asked them to share the thought behind this initiative. Mrs Kalia explained,

My husband was 14-year-old when my father-in-law met with an accident. They changed 6-7 hospitals but couldn’t get an ambulance. Back then, he pledged that, if God allows, he will do this ‘sewa’, to ensure that no other child or family has to face the struggles that I am facing right now. When I got to know about this, I felt proud. In 2002, we got married and there was an ambulance, all decked up, standing outside our wedding hall. Now we purchase ambulances on EMI. During COVID, we were getting over 200 calls and we and our team of drivers, all were working for 22 hours a day. No one cared about the day or night.

‘Ambulance Couple’ AKA Twinkle and Himanshu Kalia
‘Ambulance Couple’ AKA Twinkle and Himanshu Kalia

Talking about the dedication of his wife towards the cause, Mr Kalia said,

Twinkle was diagnosed with breast cancer and she was undergoing treatment – first operation then chemotherapy then radiation. Doctors strictly asked her to rest because her veins became weak. But the way emergency cases came in India, people were running towards hospitals and there was a shortage of oxygen. From some places we got a call saying it has been two days and the dead body is lying at home, nobody is ready to pick it up. There was so much pain and it was our attempt to heal the pain. The satisfaction and peace that you get is that we could save some lives. If the driver has gone somewhere then I drive the ambulance and when I am not there and some emergency case is there, Twinkle herself drives the ambulance. We have helped people reach the hospital and put in every effort for the cremation of people as well. When I asked her that you were not able to get up from the bed to cook food then how are you able to do this, and she said, I don’t know from where I get the energy and strength.

Also Read: COVID-19: Pregnant And Thinking Of Getting Vaccinated? Here’s What Government Guidelines Say About Safety, Side-Effects

Ronita Krishna Sharma Rekhi offered to breastfeed newborns who lost their others to COVID

A production manager by profession and the mother of a young daughter, Ms Rekhi volunteered to breastfeed newborn babies who lost their mothers during the second wave of COVID-19. At the townhall, she told Mr Bachchan how it all started,

This all started one day when I was just sitting and going through my Twitter account and read about a little baby who lost his mother to COVID and there was an appeal from I think one of his family members that they need human milk because the baby was a premature baby. When it’s a premature baby, lot of them don’t take formula milk and when I read that, at that time I was in Guwahati, my hometown, I had gone there to deliver my baby. At the time cases were really increasing in Assam, and I thought to myself that maybe there are children here who must have has lost a mother or must be in need of breastmilk. That is when I thought that I would also want to contribute because being a new mother with a baby at home, I could not go out, I could not do anything. I was feeling helpless because I remember, last lockdown, with whatever little we could, as a society, as a responsible citizen, I went out and did my bit. But this time I was a new mom and I thought this is the only thing that I can offer. I just put it out on my social media saying if there is any baby in Guwahati who is is need of human milk, I am there. I will be more than willing to breastfeed that baby or I will offer them my milk.

Ronita Krishna Sharma Rekhi offered to breastfeed newborns who lost their others to COVID
Ronita Krishna Sharma Rekhi offered to breastfeed newborns who lost their others to COVID

Ms Rekhi also shared her husband’s reaction to this initiative, she said,

The moment I shared this on my social media, my husband came out, he read it and said, you wrote that you are going to offer your breastmilk or you want to nurse a child. Are you sure you want to do this? I said of course, I am and I just looked at him and said, are you okay about it? He said I am absolutely okay about this. There is no harm. And for me, the biggest thing is, we say that our children must learn how to share and when my baby will grow up one day, I will tell her that the biggest sharing that I could on her behalf was my milk.

Also Read: Entire Adult Population In India Will Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 By December: Dr NK Arora, Head, Expert Panel On Immunisation

Dattatraya Sawant ferrying critical COVID cases in his auto rickshaw for free

A government school teacher and a part time autorickshaw driver in Mumbai, Dattatraya Sawant ferried critical medical cases in his auto during the second wave of COVID-19 as there was a shortage of ambulances and what was available was beyond the means of some people. Mr Sawant also joined the Townhall to talk to Mr Bachchan about his initiative. He said,

In Maharashtra, when the lockdown began on April 15, the situation in Mumbai and everywhere else was really bad. For me, both offline and online classes were shut and the condition of people I saw was bad. People were finding it difficult to go to the hospital; they were not getting ambulance on time or were expected to pay a high price. I thought I can use my auto for the people of my area. I made some changes in my auto and started day and night service. I could help 50 patients on time and this is something to be happy about.

Dattatraya Sawant ferrying critical COVID cases in his auto rickshaw for free
Dattatraya Sawant ferrying critical COVID cases in his auto rickshaw for free

Dr Harmandeep Singh Boparai serving on the frontlines of India’s fight against COVID

Dr Harmandeep Singh Boparai is a frontline worker from New York who returned to his hometown, Amritsar. When he witnessed the crisis India was going through, he decided to stay back and train medical staff in COVID protocols. He is currently working with Doctors Without Borders at a 1,000-bed hospital in Mumbai. Dr Boparai at the Townhall told Mr Bachchan that COVID-19 is a global war against an invisible enemy. He said,

Whether the front is New York or Amritsar or Mumbai, it’s the same fight. And with all that I learnt from my experience fighting in New York, if I weren’t able to bring it back home to India, to my people at a time of crisis, it wouldn’t have been worth it. So it was a no brainer to come back since things got so bad here during the second wave. The actual day to day is vastly different here than New York because we know the healthcare infrastructure is very different in the US. One of the things you quickly learn is that we all here share the same humanity and when you look in someone’s eyes, especially your patients or your colleagues and see them at their most vulnerable, then you get inspired. You transcend the fear and that’s one of the great lessons that we have learnt. It is one of the great honours of my life to work with people, who in some cases, literally given their lives to help others and I don’t think there is any greater service than that.

Dr Harmandeep Singh Boparai serving on the frontlines of India’s fight against COVID
Dr Harmandeep Singh Boparai serving on the frontlines of India’s fight against COVID

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Dr Marcus Ranney and Dr Raina Ranney helping people in need for medicines through their unique initiative

Dr Marcus Ranney is a Mumbai-based doctor and along with his wife Dr Raina, he started ‘Meds For More’, a citizen-LED initiative to collect unused and unexpired medicines from recovered COVID-19 patients, which are then donated to primary health care centres in rural districts across India. Dr Marcus told NDTV,

During the first wave of the pandemic, I was a frontline volunteer working in the slums here in Mumbai and I got to see firsthand the challenges that this virus posed, both in terms of people’s lives, their health but also the effect on livelihood, the burden of the cost of medicines and the economics of it. So during the second wave of the pandemic, my wife and I were thinking how we could help people, one afternoon, a member of our domestic staff called to say, his son has been diagnosed with COVID and asked if he can show me the reports. I said, of course, come and as we were talking about how we may help, I suddenly realised that in the building that we live, I had 3 patients whom I had been treating for COVID and they had recently come out of their quarantine. So I put a very simple message on our building group asking anyone with any leftover medicine to send it to our home and if it was okay then we would make it available. And that’s how we saw that if one building could come together to help save one life then just imagine what a locality could do, what a city could do, or now in need, what a country could do for herself.

Dr Marcus Ranney and Dr Raina Ranney helping people in need for medicines through their unique initiative
Dr Marcus Ranney and Dr Raina Ranney helping people in need for medicines through their unique initiative

Dr Raina further said that their mission is to collect the medicines from big cities like Mumbai and deliver to rural areas.

We started in Mumbai but we are now actually active in 10 other cities and the idea is to collect the medicines from the cities where we have access, where there is affordability amongst people and then divert these medicines towards rural areas where there is less access and affordability. We have a website whereby someone can login and they can choose to either donate medicines or become an ambassador to collect medicines for this particular initiative. And from there, once the collection has happened, we have 4-5 collection centres in every city that are a part of Meds For More and from these collection centres, our medicines go to NGO partners who we have tied up with and from there they go to either charitable trusts which service slums or to the primary health centres in the rural areas. This is how these donated medicines reach the people who need them the most.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

19,89,21,889Cases
6,44,02,340Active
13,02,83,678Recovered
42,35,871Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,89,21,889 and 42,35,871 have died; 6,44,02,340 are active cases and 13,02,83,678 have recovered as on August 3, 2021 at 3:55 am.

India

3,17,26,507 30,549Cases
4,04,9588,760Active
3,08,96,354 38,887Recovered
4,25,195 422Deaths
In India, there are 3,17,26,507 confirmed cases including 4,25,195 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,04,958 and 3,08,96,354 have recovered as on August 3, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

63,15,063 4,869

78,700 3,650

61,03,325 8,429

1,33,038 90

Kerala

34,25,473 13,984

1,65,834 2,057

32,42,684 15,923

16,955 118

Karnataka

29,08,284 1,285

24,045 123

28,47,627 1,383

36,612 25

Tamil Nadu

25,63,544 1,957

20,385 139

25,09,029 2,068

34,130 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,70,008 1,546

20,582 437

19,36,016 1,968

13,410 15

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,500 24

646 18

16,85,091 42

22,763

West Bengal

15,29,295 575

10,803 171

15,00,331 734

18,161 12

Delhi

14,36,401 51

538 44

14,10,809 95

25,054

Chhattisgarh

10,02,458 236

1,918 1

9,87,012 234

13,528 3

Odisha

9,79,737 1,032

13,318 820

9,60,386 1,785

6,033 67

Rajasthan

9,53,704 16

241 9

9,44,509 25

8,954

Gujarat

8,24,922 22

251 3

8,14,595 25

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,862 17

132 7

7,81,217 10

10,513

Haryana

7,69,956 14

703 12

7,59,614 25

9,639 1

Bihar

7,24,917 37

401 34

7,14,872 71

9,644

Telangana

6,45,997 591

8,819 54

6,33,371 643

3,807 2

Punjab

5,99,162 32

473 31

5,82,395 63

16,294

Assam

5,68,257 1,275

12,429 213

5,50,534 1,469

5,294 19

Jharkhand

3,47,223 23

239 15

3,41,855 38

5,129

Uttarakhand

3,42,198 37

574 35

3,34,261 71

7,363 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,725 118

1,254 43

3,16,090 73

4,381 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,06,369 208

1,304 75

2,01,543 132

3,522 1

Goa

1,71,295 90

1,027 16

1,67,118 72

3,150 2

Puducherry

1,21,059 54

944 38

1,18,320 92

1,795

Manipur

99,872 541

9,814 591

88,480 1,120

1,578 12

Tripura

79,026 304

3,104 12

75,167 292

755

Meghalaya

65,939 350

5,843 200

58,987 537

1,109 13

Chandigarh

61,960 6

33 3

61,116 3

811

Arunachal Pradesh

48,565 305

3,508 167

44,823 469

234 3

Mizoram

40,111 748

12,316 127

27,642 618

153 3

Nagaland

28,004 59

1,300 44

26,130 99

574 4

Sikkim

26,880 126

3,323 131

23,211 256

346 1

Ladakh

20,345 5

57 0

20,081 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,650

15 9

10,631 9

4

Lakshadweep

10,207 12

79 4

10,078 8

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,539

6 1

7,404 1

129

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