The Helping Hands in India's Covid Crisis

·3-min read

Dr. Rimona Sengupta had a humanitarian calling a few weeks ago when Indian & the international media were flashing the breaking news of India’s rising oxygen crisis & lack of hospital beds at the start of the second peak of COVID-19. She decided to do something about it in the third week of April and utilized her medical expertise and wide-ranging social network to start procuring portable oxygen concentrators and other home monitoring devices. She was overwhelmed with the evolving narrative of devastation and crisis and was determined to launch a fundraiser.

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Rimona started with a modest target of £750 and got an incredible response. She was able to meet the target within the first 72 hours. Due to her current job role as a Primary Care medical practitioner in London, she wanted to utilize the experience of working as a GP in St.Stephen’s Health Centre in East London where she was actively involved in home monitoring stable patients during the first and second waves of COVID-19 in the UK. She was helped with initial fundraising efforts when staff members and colleagues generously donated, as well as organizing a baking week in the first week of May to raise money for oxygen concentrators. East London is well known for its diversity and this event amplified the cause for a country like India which is home to such an array of racial, linguistic and religious backgrounds. This enabled the procurement of larger orders of essential equipment such as oxygen concentrators (with oxygen tubing, masks), nebulizers, and pulse oximeters.

These are all valuable devices and can provide much-needed home-based care and monitoring and help free up beds in over-stretched hospitals. She also ordered home testing Rapid Antigen Testing kits online and shipped these to India. She created a WhatsApp group with Vandana Khurana, a London-based friend from Delhi, within 48 hours. They kept on adding a few more admin members over the next few days, and it soon became a group of about 260 Indians in the UK actively liaising and communicating with people who were seeking help.

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Rimona feels that she is blessed to have received such generous contributions. She continues sharing her plea on various social media platforms. It has indeed been an extraordinary journey, and she has made everybody proud with her constant effort. The fundraiser is being kept open for another two weeks to support the victims or family members of COVID in such a crisis and she hopes to close this in the last week of June. With everyone coming forward to help in such a great cause, they have raised £8252 till today and are hoping to collect above £9000 before the fundraiser is closed. It’s high time that more people join hands with her in this initiative. Every contribution makes a difference to somebody’s life, however small it may be and brings a smile back to their family. Spread the word and be a part of this fundraising event. Help people to live, breathe, and stay alive. Let’s be with one another and make it through this tough time. This too shall pass

Dr Rimona Sengupta added, ’I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all my team members in UK, our volunteers, social media contacts, healthcare & social workers on the ground as well as contributors from all over the world. Coordinating help is a mammoth task but we as a team, made clear strategic plans, discussed our goals and took small steps everyday which enabled help reaching out to India during these times of crisis. Thank you all. Stay strong and keep the faith in humanity & goodwill gestures’.

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