The volunteers on the frontline of India’s Covid crisis as healthcare system collapses

As India’s healthcare infrastructure struggles to deal with the Covid crisis, a large army of volunteers is doing its best to fill the gap, reports Stuti Mishra in Delhi

Friday 30 April 2021 20:00
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<p>As cries for help from India increase on social media, Srinivas BV is helping thousands each day</p>

As cries for help from India increase on social media, Srinivas BV is helping thousands each day

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hen Mahua Rai Chaudhary found out her 80-year-old father’s oxygen levels were dipping below 85 – a level of above 95 is considered normal – she made frantic calls to every hospital in the national capital, government helplines, and oxygen vendors. But after hours of trying, all she encountered were busy lines and scammers ready to dupe her.

However, like thousands of Indians, what worked for her is a request for help on social media. And in what she repeatedly describes as a “divine intervention”, her father received an oxygen cylinder within hours, as her post reached Srinivas BV, head of the youth wing of India’s opposition party Congress, who has been running an assistance campaign in the country as India’s healthcare system shatters.

“I was searching for the oxygen cylinder everywhere, but within hours of the post, I got a call from a person I didn’t know, saying the cylinder will be sent to me. I was shocked,” says Chaudhary, an HR professional. However, after two days, her father passed away. She says the organisation also helped cremate her father.

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