Sewa help:

Health workers are busy refilling and checking oxygen cylinders and supplying oxygen by pipelines in various wards at Medical College in Kolkata on April 27, 2021. (Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS photo)

Sewa International has announced in a news release that it is sending aid to help India get through its latest wave of COVID-19, having raised nearly $4.7 million from over 66,000 Indian Americans, it said.

As part of its aid, the nonprofit is sending an initial shipment of 2,184 oxygen concentrators and other emergency medical devices and supplies to India immediately, as well as working on procuring more from multiple suppliers around the world to ease oxygen shortage caused by the surging numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country. 

Sewa has started “Help India Defeat COVID-19” campaign to ship oxygen concentrators to Indian hospitals. It is also providing food and medicines to about 10,000 families and more than 1,000 orphanages, and senior citizen centers across the country, the organization said in its release.

Throughout the effort, Sewa says it is aiming to raise $5 million.

The nonprofit sent out an email to supporters asking for their help in reaching their goal. It said donations of $51 are enough for each family kit (food, basic medicines, masks, sanitizers, etc.); $201 to support community homes with 20-30 people, such as orphanages and old-age homes (food, basic medicines, masks, sanitizers, etc.); and $501 for oxygen concentrator. Visit www.sewausa.org/donate to donate.

A second wave of COVID-19 has overwhelmed India's healthcare system and caused an acute shortage of oxygen, ventilators, and hospital beds across the country, the release notes.

With the number of new cases crossing 300,000 daily and a steady rise in number of fatalities, Indian hospitals are under serious stress to accommodate new patients, it said.

"Sewa has already raised more than $1 million to help India in its hour of need. We are getting a great response from thousands of donors and expressing a deep desire to help India overcome this crisis. We thank them for their generous and timely contribution," Arun Kankani, president of Sewa International, said in a statement.

"We are working closely with many organizations in the U.S. to raise funds for this effort,” Kankani added.

Additionally, Sewa said they have partnered with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin to fund 200 oxygen concentrators.

"Naturally, in the current situation, many Americans are concerned about the safety of their extended families and friends living in India,” Kankani continued. “Hundreds of volunteers from Sewa and our partnering organizations are working on the ground in India. Right now, our top priority is to quickly acquire oxygen concentrators and ship them to India as it can save lives. We are also helping a few hospitals to extend their capacity to treat more COVID-19 patients."

Sewa’s vice president of disaster recovery Swadesh Katoch noted that the nonprofit is building a Digital Helpdesk to provide critical information on ambulance services, hospital bed availability, and blood and medicinal supplies to people.

“We need not despair as India has many resources, but we can still help people win their fight against COVID-19," Katoch said.

As part of its ongoing COVID-19 relief work in the U.S., Sewa has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct vaccination drives across the country. The nonprofit is also distributing thousands of pounds of food in Houston and the San Francisco Bay area, it said.

In addition to Sewa’s effort, An Indian American group led by several doctors, who trace their origin to Bihar and Jharkhand, has launched a free telemedicine helpline for COVID-19 patients back home.

Led by Dr. Avinash Gupta, who is president of Bihar and Jharkhand Association of North America, and several of Indian American doctors, the group is using the internet and apps to provide free healthcare consultancy to those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

BJANA has tied up with two local NGOs – Aashtha and Asha – to support this cause. In addition to one-to-one consultancy, BJANA doctors are also organizing Zoom sessions to share details of the various aspects of COVID-19, according to a Press Trust of India report.

The group is also attempting to send essential medical supplies to Patna, it said.

More about BJANA can be found by visiting www.bjana.org.

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