Having doctors as incoming or nominated district governors is certainly a boon during a pandemic such as the one the world is facing in COVID-19.
As the country shut down during the pandemic, as early as March 27, RID 3202 DG A Karthikeyan quickly formed a taskforce to see what best the district’s Rotarians could do to help fight the spread of coronavirus. The very next day a meeting was held and a decision was taken to supply PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) to the Calicut Government Medical College, masks, gloves and sanitisers to the police personnel, water to government servants working in corona control tasks, and medical equipment to a hospital.
DGN Dr Rajesh Subash put forth the idea of setting up an infectious-diseases ICU at the Calicut Medical College which was readily accepted. A group of Rotarians visited the college on March 30; on April 9, got consent from the college Principal Dr Rajendran to set up the Rotary ICU. “Our benefactor, Rtn Balakrishna Marar donated ₹5.5 lakh, and by April 15, the Rotary ICU for infectious diseases such as COVID, with 10 ICU beds, four ventilators and 50 other medical equipment, including 10 multipurpose monitors, five infusion pumps, five syringe pumps and one defibrillator was ready,” says Dr Subash.
The ventilators and 65 other equipment were acquired in record time and all the Rotary clubs of Calicut came together to fund this venture worth over ₹1 crore.
The ventilators and 65 other equipment were acquired in record time and all the Rotary clubs of Calicut in District 3202 came together to fund this venture worth over ₹1 crore.
Incidentally, the Calicut Medical College Hospital is the largest in India going by bed strength; it has over 3,000 beds. Pending official inauguration of the Rotary ICU at a more convenient date, in order to serve the urgent need of tackling the corona pandemic, this ICU was opened by the local MLA Pradeep on April 20.
Among the States in India, Kerala is being appreciated not only within the country, but around the world, for the speedy response of its government, aided by civil society (of which the State’s Rotarians form an integral part) in controlling the spread of corona.
ICU ventilators by RID 3211
RID 3211 responded to the corona pandemic under the leadership of DG Shirish Kesavan and DGE Dr Thomas Vavanikunnel by providing ICU ventilators to four medical colleges in the south of Kerala at a cost of ₹1.05 crore. “Ventilators are the need of the hour and they will be in demand even after the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. The medical colleges will maintain the ventilators ” said DG Kesavan, appealing to all the Rotarians in his district to donate liberally to TRF. This would enable global grants which have been tweaked by the Foundation to help corona relief work being done by Rotarians across the world.
RID 3211, comprising 4,600 Rotarians in 143 clubs in five Revenue districts of Kerala — Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alleppey, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta — was also quick to act for other COVID-19 relief work.
DG Kesavan said that as Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram are among the eight districts in Kerala declared as COVID-19 hotspots by the Kerala government, the district’s Rotarians “have provided masks, hand sanitisers, gloves, PPEs, food grains, vegetables and groceries, cooked meals, beverages and drinking water worth crores of rupees all over the five revenue districts comprising RID 3211.”
The district is going to implement a global grant project worth $300,000 by providing ICU ventilators to government hospitals in Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Alleppey and Pathanamthitta.
As there was an acute shortage of ventilators, “in response to a specific request from our Health Minister K K Shailaja, the district is going to implement a global grant project worth $300,000 by providing ICU ventilators to the Government Medical Colleges in Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Alleppey and the Government Hospital in Pathanamthitta.”
Another GG worth $70,250 for providing five ICU ventilators to the Government Medical College with Rotary Clubs of Pala, Kottayam Southern and Kottayam Central as Indian partners and RC Schwetzingen-Kurpfalz, as international partner, is already approved by TRF, he added.
Add to this “the fabulous service worth ₹12.5 lakh rendered by ARRFC and PDG John Daniel and Meera through their family-led Y Daniel Foundation, which is the RCC of Rotary Club of Quilon Lotus.” They have been providing 650 meal packets every day for the initial 21-day lockdown beginning from March 25 to the police personnel on COVID-19 duty, orphanages in Kollam City and the destitute on the streets, and supplied N90 and 3-layer masks and hand sanitisers to the police personnel on COVID-19 duty and healthcare providers, Kesavan said.
PDG Daniel added that his Foundation was also responsible for distributing 1,400 litres of sanitisers and 5,000 masks to the frontline warriors fighting this pandemic.
In terms of creating awareness about the new coronavirus and making people compliant, Rotarians have been in the forefront. Apart from Zoom meetings, clubs have been distributing pamphlets spreading awareness about the importance of quarantine, self-isolation, staying at home, use of masks, gloves and sanitisers and other safety measures to guard against the pandemic, he added.