INDIAN COVID 19 EMERGENCY
INTERVENTION AREA Telangana, India
LOCAL PARTNERS Sarwa Prema Welfare Society, Sister of Presentation, Bala Vikasa
CONTEXT There are currently 24,506 cases of Coronavirus in India: in the Telangana region - where we support our projects - there are 984 cases.
The fear that the contagion could spread to large urban suburbs, rural villages and slums where maintaining social distance is almost impossible has meant that in the face of the emergency, India intervened immediately by announcing a complete lockdown of 21 days which was then extended by another two weeks.
This total shutdown seems to be producing good results, but as we all know this virus is new and doesn't allow us to make many predictions.
What we do know is that public health expenditure in India is among the lowest in the world and the hospital system has only 0.5 beds and 0.8 doctors for every thousand inhabitants.
The sudden closure of all services has created enormous difficulties for workers in the informal sector who are estimated to be 65 million across India (we have observed the dramatic images of the exodus on television and in the newspapers). Once again it is the most fragile categories that are most affected by the current events.
In this period there is talk of how of the over 800 million undernourished people in the world, almost a third (250 million) risk suffering even more profound hunger due to the pandemic. A number that we see increasing worsened by events (we have been able to observe the worst locust infestation in recent decades in Africa for example) and by difficulties in obtaining funds and foodstuffs even by large organizations.
Millions of people not so far from us find themselves in a condition of uncertainty with on the one hand the need to provide for their family's food needs and on the other the need to try to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus.
To try to alleviate the suffering irreparably generated by this condition, we have taken steps to bring our support to the local realities that we know and with which we have been collaborating for several years.
We have identified three partners who are acting at a local level with initiatives that we would like to support, we trust their work and we would like to divide the funds raised between these realities:
- Sarva Prema Welfare Society, a philanthropic society of which Father Antonio Grugni, a PIME medical priest, was director. They mainly deal with medical treatments (especially leprosy and tuberculosis) and socio-economic rehabilitation activities for patients in difficulty and their families. In response to the Covid-19 emergency, they carried out an initial distribution of food products: rice, dal (dried legumes), oil, onions, vegetables and sanitary products (disinfectant and masks). In this first phase, 100 families were reached, indicated by the government or by local authorities, made up of migrant workers and day laborers now in difficulty due to the pandemic. Right now they are planning to distribute it to 300 tuberculosis patients who are being medically followed by them and that is why they are asking for our help. Parallel to the kit distribution activity, in collaboration with the government, they are planning a "Blood donation camp", a meeting to raise awareness of voluntary blood donation and to collect the same in a protected environment, at the moment there is a scarcity of blood which could harm patients with renal insufficiency and thalassemia. Sarva Prema will cater for doctors and health personnel, provide donor beds and juice. For this activity, an expense of about 50,000 rupees, about €605, is expected.
- Sister of Presentation (Daughters of Presentation of Mary in The Temple - DPM), the sisters deal with various activities in the area, such as the eye clinic and facilities for children and women. In the first phase they reached 300 families made up of migrant day laborers, health workers and road cleaners, people with disabilities, tribal communities, just in these days 6 families have arrived to ask for rice and foodstuffs at the nuns' house. The food kits are made up of rice, oil, flour, dal, onions, spices as well as the health kits made up of masks and disinfectant gel. Each kit will guarantee meals for approximately 21 days.
- Balavikasa, our local partner for well construction projects and in support of widows, have taken action with kits that allow us to contribute to the support of a widowed woman and her family, basic necessities are supplied (Survival kit) such as oil, dal, atta (flour), chilli powder, sugar, onions, aluminum foil, vegetables etc. enough to survive for a month and sanitary material (Preventive kit) consisting of 1 liter of disinfectant gel and 10 masks.