Covid-19: Good Samaritans in Odisha offer a bank of oxygen, hope for people in home isolation


Express News Service

ROURKELA: On Thursday evening, a resident of Civil Township looked everywhere for an oxygen cylinder he needed for a kin who is in home isolation after testing positive. The kin was feeling a little distressed, short of breath and needed oxygen support. The frantic search ended late in the night at the Rajasthan Seva Sadan (RSS) hospital.

At a time when hospitals in large parts of the country are reeling under oxygen scarcity, a group of members of different Rotary Clubs of the city have donned the roles of Good Samaritans and set up the 24X7 Oxy Bank at the RSS to ensure supply of filled oxygen cylinders to needy Covid-19 patients in home isolation. 

The effort is commendable as the Steel City is in the vicious grip of the Covid-19 second wave. Amid limited hospital beds at Rourkela only those needing critical care or hospitalisation are getting hospitalised, while rest are advised into home isolation.

 With the new variants of the coronavirus rapidly deteriorating condition of the patients, medical oxygen plays a vital role in keeping them alive and increase chances of survival.   

The service started three days ago. Group member Prashant Patra says the city has adequate availability of medical oxygen but cylinders are a problem. “So far, we have 12 cylinders and by Friday night, we expect to receive 4-5 more empty cylinders from different sources in Cuttack,” he added.

While medical oxygen is supplied free of cost, the bank takes a refundable security deposit for the flow meters and the money is returned after receiving the empty cylinders in good condition.   

Another group member Amit Agarwal said they have circulated contact numbers through various social media platforms and his phone does not stop ringing even during the night hours. Although the service is confined to Rourkela, he has got at least 150 calls from Odisha and beyond, he said adding, they strictly discourage hoarding of cylinders in panic.

Relevant medical reports of Covid-19 patients and advice of doctors are taken before they supply the oxygen. The bank is in the process of arranging more cylinders to expand the service.  The group with 10 active members include Prashant Patra, Amit Agarwal,Vinod Goel, Narendra Kedia, Kamal Agarwal, Biswajit Pati and Hiralal Mohapatra.  More groups are now coming up to launch similar service from Monday. 

Meanwhile, a couple, 45-year-old Gurinder Singh and wife Pushpinder, has taken up the task of providing free cooked meals to needy Covid-19 patients in home isolation.  The service started on Thursday and they supplied 90 meals for lunch and dinner, whereas on Friday, 70 meals were supplied and demand rose for 90 in the night. Gurinder said, the family members help Pushpinder in preparation of food and subsequently sons Deep Pratap (17), Amandeep (12) and two nephews Balraj Singh (22) and Paranjyot (20) supply it on two-wheelers.

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