Mission Sanjeevani Breathes Life Into A Stifled Health System

Mission Sanjeevani Breathes Life Into A Stifled Health System

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious gaps in India’s health system, primarily stemming out of the low spending on health at 1.2% of the GDP. Caught off-guard, as the second wave peaked and more than a million cases were recorded every few days, hospitals and medical facilities stared at a crisis due to dearth of life-saving medical and diagnostic equipment, hospital beds and personal protective gear, while patients were left outside hospitals waiting for vital medical care across the country.

In May this year (2021), when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on NGOs to help strengthen the healthcare sector, Oxfam India was already on the ground with its response—distributing and installing medical equipment at health centres, distributing PPE to frontline health workers, and providing food and cash to meet people’s immediate needs.

As gaping cracks in the state of healthcare in India lay exposed – and further widened, Oxfam India launched Mission Sanjeevani – our COVID-19 Response 2.0, with the focus on Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals in 16 states, especially in semi-urban and rural locations that tend to marginalised communities.

At the onset, we began with providing PPE and Safety Kits to COVID Health Centres, to ensure that frontline health workers had their basic safety in check as they stepped out to brave the pandemic.

In a little over four months, we have handed over medical supplies, diagnostic equipment, hospital beds and protective gear to 103 PHCs, 96 CHCs and 103 District Hospitals across 16 states – Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Assam, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Based on requests from local administration and hospital authorities, we provided support that enabled the conversion of PHCs to 24x7 health care centres in several locations, and the setup of a COVID Ward at Kamada Kinkar Memorial ISHP Hospital in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district.

The thousands of jumbo oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators, BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) machines, multi parameter monitors, oximeters, hospital beds, testing kits and PPE kits we have provided, has served fisherfolk and flood-affected communities, vulnerable tribal groups, daily wage earners, slum dwellers, informal sector workers, Pakistani refugees, Dombari community, Muslims, single women, domestic violence survivors, alms receivers, LGBTQIA+ community, migrants and other marginalized SC Communities.

The inaccessibility of medical oxygen across the country during the second wave has been an impetus for us to set up two Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Oxygen plants (in Tumkur, Karnataka and Saran, Bihar) – with plans to set up another eight such plants in other states as well.

In contrast to the Project PSP—Oxfam India’s response to the first wave— wherein the focus was on providing PPE Kits and Safety Kits based on the need of the hour, through Mission Sanjeevani, Oxfam India has brought much needed life-saving medical supplies, equipment and consumables to underserved healthcare institutions to help them better serve the communities in the area.

Suffice to say, with miles to still traverse, Mission Sanjeevani holds true to its name as it continues to help breathe life into a near-stifled health system and bring relief to where it is most needed.

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