In response to the second wave of Covid, when Delhi hospitals are constantly sending desperate messages for emergency oxygen supplies, and an appeal from the health department, Rotarians in Delhi have come to the rescue. RID 3011 DG Sanjiv Rai Mehra called out to Rotary clubs in the district to help in every possible way. “On behalf of the district initially I committed 10 oxygen plants within a week to the government,” he says.
RIPE Shekhar Mehta has requested me to help establish at least 10 oxygen plants in every district across India and I am working on this with RID Bharat Pandya, RIDE Mahesh Kotbagi and PDG Ravi Vadlamani.
— DG Sanjiv Rai Mehra
Responding to the DG’s call, RC Delhi Premier, a two-year-old, 72-member strong club led by Aneesha Dalmia and secretary Sudhanshu Pachisia, installed seven oxygen plants in seven hospitals in Delhi within two weeks. The first plant started producing the life-saving gas within 48 hours. “I posted a paragraph-long note on our club’s WhatsApp group at midnight soon after I heard from our DG and by 8am the next morning I had the funds ready for sponsoring two plants. At 2pm I called the DG and said we will do seven. We still had money rolling in even after that. Now we will be providing six other equipment by the month-end,” beams Aneesha.
Six plants with a capacity to produce 45 litres of oxygen per minute were installed in smaller hospitals with up to 50 beds and a 500 litre per minute plant was set up at the Deen Dayal Hospital which has 100 beds. “This project, costing ₹2 crore, was entirely funded through the generosity of our members, their friends and relatives,” says the club president. These plants will save hundreds of lives, and in return, these hospitals have agreed to treat underprivileged patients recommended by the club.
“It is heartrending to see people waiting in ambulances and some dying even before they can enter the hospital premises. We can’t let that happen. This is a war where we all have to fight together. Every person who is affected by Covid deserves treatment,” she says. The club has also given 1,100 oxygen concentrators to smaller hospitals and Covid care centres.
All the Rotary clubs of the district are working collectively to provide critical facilities including oxygen concentrators, ventillators as well as setting up Covid care and vaccination centres.
“With such collective efforts, we have scaled up our commitment to provide 10 more oxygen plants to hospitals across the district by end-June,” says Mehra. A global grant with three international partners — with clubs from England, Houston and Calgary — will help set up an oxygen plant at the 675-bed Ganga Ram Hospital. “The CM has agreed to inaugurate the plant,” he adds.
300-bed Covid facility
Rotary clubs in the district have also set up a 300-bed Covid care facility at the Sarvodaya School in R K Puram, Delhi. “As schools will not be functioning for some time now the Delhi government suggested that we put up this facility here. Furniture has been removed from the classrooms and we have provided 300 beds, and 100 of these will have the facility to administer oxygen. The facility is equipped with oxygen concentrators for emergency use, and this has really been of immense help to the patients during these desperate times.” The district is working on another 100-bed facility in Delhi. Corporates are also supporting clubs for the cause.
An oxygen concentrator bank with 100 equipment have been set up in the capital and “the facility will work on use and return basis.” The bank will be spread across the district with sub-banks at seven locations for logistic support.
“RIPE Shekhar Mehta has requested me to help establish at least 10 oxygen plants in every district across India and I am working on this with RID Dr Bharat Pandya, RIDE Dr Mahesh Kotbagi and PDG Ravi Vadlamani,” he says.
Covid care plan
Aneesha has designed a Covid care plan for her club members and family. “We have tied up with testing labs, CT scan centres, tele-consultation and ambulance services and a ready reckoner of their contact details have been circulated among the members. We have also stationed oxygen concentrators and cylinders for Rotarians and their immediate family at a central location in Delhi. We have to take care of the 72 members and their families which will total to at least 300 people,” she smiles.