Express News Service
Actor Huma Qureshi and NGO Save the Children have come together to raise Rs 2 crore, for a 100-bed Covid facility in Tilak Nagar Colony Hospital under South Delhi Municipal Corporation. “When the second wave hit Delhi, I was overwhelmed by what was happening. We have a choice to despair or step up and take action. I had to start somewhere.
So, I chose the city where my roots are Delhi and take this to other cities and villages across,” says Qureshi, who has been associated with Save the Children US for many years. “I wanted to give back to my home city, and hence started the #BreathOfLife initiative with the NGO. In the first week of May, after discussing at length, we went l ive wi th the fundraiser.” Qureshi started by donating first. Then, her brother and parents and friends came forward.
“In about 10 days, we had reached nearly half way mark. All contributions will go towards the purchase of oxygen concentrators and cylinders, stretchers, wheelchairs, thermometers, medicines, as well as psychosocial support such as counselling and consultations. We plan to offer tele-consultations and homecare kits to Covid-19 patients dealing with illness at home. We are adding 50 more beds along with a children’s ward, a paediatric ICU and a Neonatal ICU,” adds Qureshi.
As the first milestone of #BreathOfLife, 70 Oxygen concentrators were delivered to Tilak Nagar Colony Hospital, South Delhi Municipal Corporation on May 19. Save the Children CEO Sudarshan Suchi says, “An extraordinary crisis like the one we are in demands extraordinary steps. One of the most significant elements is the value of partnerships. Huma was moved by the sudden medical emergency in the capital, and also has her family here. She and her team are not only raising funds, but also working very closely to activate support, forge partnerships and raise awareness about our work.”
Aiming for a million
As part of their lockdown procedure, the field teams from Save the Children make daily calls to children and their families to get an update on their health, requirements and also share information on Covid appropriate behaviour. “Our first response in 2020 focused on critical food security and livelihood, and touched nearly six lakh children on the fringes. Now, our plan is designed in phases based on the immediate need and foreseeable challenges.
With #ProtectAMillion, we are committed to reach an additional 1million (10lakh) children and their families in 57 districts across 12 states and 2 UTs with lifesaving and altering critical care,” adds Suchi. The NGO has also stepped forward to help kids orphaned in the pandemic. “In Assam, we heard of three children who lost their father and mother in quick succession, and we have been working with the local authorities for their care.
We are seeing a Covid stigma emerging in rural areas, and so we are stepping in to raise awareness and support the ailing families. To tackle child protection issues on the ground, we have an action plan that aims at identifying, linking and referring all cases of a child in need of care and protection to relevant government authorities and statutory structures,” informs Suchi, adding that the biggest challenge was to ensure a wide reach to children and the community, along with the safety and well-being of their staff.
Taking note of the sudden surge in the demand for oxygen, the NGO procured and distributed 700 oxygen concentrators in 11 states. “As we speak, 452 oxygen concentrators have been delivered at 31 locations across nine states. I want to especially mention how a concentrator saved a newborn suffering from birth related complications at a district special newborn care unit in Tonk district of Rajasthan,” reveals Suchi.
The equipment that includes the concentrators, Covid care kits, at home consultations, PPE for frontline health workers, learning kits for children to name a few are being distributed across 57 districts in 14 locations. “We conduct a needbased analysis in the locations we are active in, with a focus on children and their families to ensure their care, protection and survival. On the outcome of this analysis, we deploy different tactics in different locations,” concludes Suchi.