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From Oxygen enabled ambulances and Vaccination drives to ration kits, how a Bengaluru-based NGO’s are helping people survive


BENGALURU: Whether it’s providing oxygen, Covid cure kits, vaccinations or ration kits, Two bengaluru based organisations have rallied the community to help those in need. The deadly second wave of the corona virus is wreaking havoc in families and hospitals. To augment Karnataka’s healthcare infrastructure for COVID-19, Mantra4change and Suriya Foundation have been actively working for the needy round the clock.

Since the second wave of COVID-19 began, Mantra4Change and Suriya Foundation – both organizations have been ensuring access to medical attention for those testing COVID positive. These initiatives, undertaken in collaboration with the state government and Civil Society Organizations in Bengaluru (Karnataka) are ensuring patients get timely support to cure severe symptoms.

From April 2021, both the organizations have implemented initiatives that have so far saved more than 1000 lives in the city. Initiatives like Oxygen enabled ambulances, COVID Cure-kits, Vaccination Drives, Ration Distribution, Step Down Centres and Oxygen-on-wheels.

These various activities are supported by Zerodha, Wells Fargo, The Kumble Foundation, Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiative, Tamara Resorts, and Tech Mahindra Foundation.

The Mantra4Change, Co-founder, Santosh More said, “Over 30 Ambulances with Oxygen supply are plying through the streets of Bengaluru to support patients who need to be ferried to hospitals. In several cases, the delay in getting a bed in hospitals has led to the demise of patients. These ambulances, equipped with Oxygen supply, a paramedic staff and a driver ensure patients receive oxygen to stabilise their SPO2 levels until they are able to find hospital beds for further treatment.”

“Also 5 Oxygen-on-Wheels have been deployed on the streets of Bengaluru, dedicated to providing immediate Oxygen supply to patients who aren’t able to get to hospitals in time. Launched in partnership with the Zonal Officer, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike(BBMP), these vans are equipped with Oxygen Concentrators to ensure continuous Oxygen supply to patients,” said Santhosh.

He added, More than 2,000 COVID positive patients from low-income households in Bengaluru have received COVID Cure-kits. The kits are equipped with all the essentials required to treat their mild/moderate symptoms at home. Each kit consists of 4 medicines, a mask, a sanitizer, thermometer and an oximeter. While we saw that not many individuals knew how to use an oximeter to detect their SPO2 levels, every kit comes with a QR Code which can be scanned by any camera enabled phone, leading the patient to a short tutorial on using the Oximeter by Anil Kumble.

The kits are being distributed in partnership with the Government of Karnataka to low-income households across the city.

One of the Suriya Foundation volunteers, PuneethT says, “We as an organisation along with lot of volunteer teams have been working on COVID response supporting critical patients with oxygen , beds , ambulance services . Right now we see COVID’s penetration deeply into rural pockets which has very less health infrastructure.we are scaling up our work in rural areas across Karnataka and India.”

“More than 20,000 families have benefitted from the ration distribution drive in Bengaluru’s low-income households. While lockdowns are sought after to curtail the spread of the virus, they have severe implications on economically disadvantaged groups. From our experiences of last year, when the nation went into an abrupt lockdown, we were able to plan ahead this time and prepare for widespread ration distribution to families across the city. Each Ration kit contains all the essentials – Rice, Flour, Oils, Pulses, Tea, Grains, etc.”

For patients in need of continuous oxygen monitoring, a centre is opened to ensure patient-care until their SPO2 levels normalize. Around 40 beds have been set up in our very first Step Down Centre, which was inaugurated in May 2021. Puneeth says, “After receiving rigorous critical care in ICUs, a patient is typically transferred to a High Dependency Unit (HDU) for further monitoring. Then to a ward where they recuperate until it’s time for them to be discharged.”

However, given how stretched our medical institutions are at this point, there are limited provisions to extend step-down treatments to the patients. By converting temporary spaces in Public Health Centres into Step-down Centres, we can ensure further care for patients getting discharged from ICUs. Also those who may require oxygen support but not to the extent of an ICU admission, he said.

Adding to it, he said, Over 1,500 people have been vaccinated through the organsisations centre in Bengaluru. Vaccines are the only way to flatten the curve and eliminate the spread of the virus. However, misconceptions and misinformation about vaccines can be huge deterrents to ensuring maximum inoculation. Awareness of and access to vaccines are crucial to making sure a large number of individuals get the jabs. Our Vaccination camps are equipped with a Van, a doctor, a nurse, and vaccination kits. Citizens can avail our services by calling 080-47181616.

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