Our Relief Effort with Smart Covid OPDs & Hospitals
It's been more than a month under nationwide lockdown and Covid-19 positive cases continue to rise steadily in some areas with Mumbai being one of the hotspots. As our brave healthcare workers continue to work tirelessly to curb the spread of the virus, here's a look at the relief efforts we have undertaken to support them during this month.
One of our recent activities that has given us a lot of satisfaction is the establishment of three 'Smart Covid OPDs', at Sion Hospital, at Cama & Albless Hospital and most recently at JJ Hospital (donated by Mr Amitabh Jhunjhunwala).
We have three more in the pipeline and it is most gratifying that an individual donor or a family has stepped forward to support each of them to make things safer for the medical community.
A smart Covid OPD will be deployed this week at St. George Hospital in Mumbai, which has been donated by portfolio manager Mr Rajashekar Iyer; the Singrodia family is supporting the one at K B Bhabha Hospital in Bandra and Mumbai's Nair Hospital will have one supported by Mr Narendra Murkumbi.
For those not familiar, a Smart Covid OPD allows contact-less screening of people. This is not only an important addition to doctors' safety but, as Dr Tushar Palve, superintendent in-charge of Cama Hospital tells us, 'it also saves on the use of PPE sets'.
This innovative OPD helps in evaluating and isolating Covid infected patients at the preliminary screening stage, while also keeping our medical professionals safe. You can read more about how these OPDs operate here.
The Smart Covid OPD was the brainchild of Dr Rangnathi Jhawar, consultant and maxilliofacial surgeon at Hindu Balasaheb Thackeray (HBT) Trauma Hospital and Dr Durwesh Kadri. It is Dr Jhawar who worked with Ayu Devices, an IIT Mumbai incubated healthcare startup, and Sevak Trust, to set up the manufacturing capability to replicate it at multiple hospitals.
Ever since Dr Avinash Sakure of SION's MARD (Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors) connected us to Mr Vishesh Sinha and his team at Ayu Devices, the idea had resonated with doctors across hospitals. We have managed a continuous roll out even during this trying time when the entire city is under a lockdown, mainly due to the efforts of Mr Sinha as well as teams of engineers and doctors who are helping the process.
Prof Dr Aparna Hegde, at Cama Hospital, who also runs an NGO called Armman finds it "immensely useful in screening patients". We also found support from The Medical Education and Drugs Department (MEDD) of Maharashtra, who tweeted about our effort.
There have been inquiries from private hospitals in Mumbai and Bengaluru for the installation of such OPDs.
Co-ordination with NGOs & Other Activities
In the early days of lockdown, the Maharashtra state government strictly restricted the movement of people and private vehicles throughout the state. While necessary this had severely impacted distribution of essential services especially to the poor, disadvantaged of our society. These people were left without food, water and basic essentials and were in desperate need of assistance. NGOs such a Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) and Feeding India were already at work procuring and distributing food kits to such people.
Moneylife Foundation's mandate did not allow it to actively get involved in this work and we could only assist existing organisations by helping spread the message and encouraging our members to donate to the cause. We were also working to source supplies for NGOs such as YUVA and through donor organisations such as Feeding India (part of the Zomato group), while also connecting with other leading corporate NGOs to streamline the process.
However, we could not sit tight for too long, having seen the plight of hundreds of migrant workers and homeless people during the lockdown. We took the step to register ourselves with the Darpan database of NGOs under Niti Aayog. Completing this essential process, allowed us to utilise our resources and directly get involved in the relief process. We were joined in this effort by the alumni association of Mumbai University's economics department, led by the indomitable Prof Ritu Dewan.
Around this time, the Civil Defence Organisation under Director General Sanjay Pandey offered transport and logistics support to help NGOs reach rations, food and help to distressed people, coordinating the effort through a WhatsApp group called 'Relief Mumbai',. Moneylife Foundation also benefitted immensely from the logistical support provided by the Civil Defence team to procure and deliver N95 masks to hospitals and medical professionals across Mumbai as well as other equipment.
The Civil Defence soon decided to set up a Relief Camp at Versova in Mumbai on 30,000 sq. ft. of its land that is specifically earmarked for settlement. It was used to house hundreds of migrant workers. Supporting this effort, Moneylife Foundation assisted in having the camp set up by approaching organisations and individuals to provide infrastructure support and food.
Relief in the form of Hospital Supplies
Our involvement in relief activities, led us to understand the critical requirements of medical professionals in hospitals across Mumbai. Realising that many of these hospitals were severely lacking in effective personal protective equipment (PPEs), N95 masks, surgical masks, hand sanitisers, gloves etc we decided to appeal to our members to donate and help procure such items. A generous donation from Thakur Family Foundation also encouraged us to focus on the needs of government hospitals.
We began with a 'PPE supply group' on WhatsApp, which brought together doctors from hospitals across Mumbai putting forward their requests for PPEs and other essentials, while we tried to source them from reliable vendors. Dr Neela Patwardhan's effort in helping us connect with the right doctors across all of Mumbai's leading government hospitals has been invaluable. It helped streamline our efforts in a big way.
It has been a herculean task to cut through the opportunism of the vendors who have been pitching either expensive or sub-standard products at us. To be able to source quality material at the best price has been an effort and we are gratified at the positive feedback we have received. We reported on the difficulties of sourcing PPEs and you can read more about it here.
In the past few weeks, we have been steadily supplying N95 masks, Venus V-4420 masks, PPE kits, face shields, hand sanitisers and such essentials, to King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Sion Hospital, Nair Hospital, JJ Hospital, Cama & Albless Hospital, K J Somaiya Hospital , Dr. D Y Patil Hospital and Shushrusha Hospital. Some recent entrants to our list include St George's Hospital, Cooper Hospital, Rajawadi Hospital and Dr Rangnath Jhawar from HBT Trauma Hospital. Our efforts have also helped the police in Dadar, Worli and Rabale and police stations.
Recently, with the shortage of PPEs and N95 masks, a few hospitals have started rationing the use of such essentials by providing 4-5 such items per individual for use once each day. Furthermore, to keep these items reasonably safe, doctors have been advised to store them individually in paper bags such as those provided by medical stores.
Hospitals were finding it difficult to source such bags in large quantities at a reasonable rate. Fortunately we were able to procure and distribute them to KEM Hospital, Cama & Albless Hospital, Sion Hospital and Nair Hospital who had a larger requirement of such bags. After a prolonged delay on an order of hand sanitiser bottles from a distributer, we have also had these delivered to hospitals across Mumbai.
Donate to Support Our Relief Work
Donate materials: If you would like to donate some material to hospitals but do not know how, please connect with us ([email protected]) and we shall add you to our PPE Supply group on WhatsApp.
Donate Covid OPD: If want to donate an entire Smart Covid OPD, costing about Rs2.45 lakhs with your name listed as donor, we would be more than happy to help you with any coordination to ensure it's completion.
Donate money: As we continue to procure and deliver essentials for hospitals, our work in Covid relief has gradually increased with the support of donors and well-wishers. But we are far from done and can only hope to continue as long as we have donations. Please do donate if you would like to support our efforts. We would be continuing our relief efforts till the end of May and all donations receive under 'General' purpose shall be utilised in this effort.
Moneylife TV & Helplines
With the outbreak of Covid-19, our events and daily clinics for this month have been suspended for the safety and benefit of all those involved. However, in this lockdown period you can still take advantage of our numerous videos of past seminars and workshops which are always available on our YouTube Channel Moneylife TV and Moneylife News Bites.
Although counselling on various issues from our experts is not possible in-person, you are welcome to email on [email protected] with your details. We shall forward your mail to the expert for guidance and do our best to get your query resolved.
Also, Moneylife Foundation is now on Telegram and Instagram, so do follow us on these channels to stay updated on our activities and events.
Thank you for your support, stay safe and look forward to your good wishes always.
Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation
Trustees: TS Krishnamurthy, Dr KC Chakrabarty, Walter Vieira, Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu.
Moneylife Foundation is registered with the Charity Commissioner of Mumbai, is an Affiliate member of OECD's International Network on Financial Education, is a Supporter Member of Consumers International, Development Partner of Advocates for International Development (A4ID), and is a winner of the 10th MR Pai Memorial Award.
Donations are eligible for tax benefits under Sec 80G of the Income Tax 1961 (50% tax exemption) and MLF is registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.