The volunteer network sending oxygen to India's Covid patients
May 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 20.8%. 2 min read.
Srinivas B.V. barely sleeps at night. His phone rings 24 hours a day with cries of help from Indians begging for oxygen supplies, ventilators, hospital beds -- whatever he can provide.
Earlier this week, Srinivas and his team rushed an oxygen cylinder to the New Delhi home of a woman whose father was suffering from Covid-19.
To meet the surge in demand, Srinivas and his team are among 1,000 members of the youth wing working day and night around the country, including 100 in the capital New Delhi.
"(People) are not having access to oxygen, nor hospital beds," said Manu Jain, the national convenor of the youth wing.
But demand is so high that once the patient has stabilized -- typically in a few days -- the team retrieves the oxygen cylinder, and either takes it to the next patient or sends it back for refilling out-of-state.
The 100 youth wing members in Delhi also go from hospital to hospital to check for available beds, and coordinate directly with medical staff and district officials to admit patients.
Srinivas' team made national headlines last week, when the New Zealand High Commission in India tweeted a request for oxygen to the youth wing, using their SOS hashtag.
In response to the worsening crisis and rising criticism, the central government stepped up its emergency measures this week, installing "high capacity" medical oxygen plants in two New Delhi hospitals and approving plans to install 500 more in the next three months.
But these measures -- foreign aid and oxygen plants in hospitals -- are of no help for people who can't even get a hospital bed, and die in ambulances or at home waiting to be admitted.
For the families of these patients, Srinivas' team and their volunteers are a last resort.