RI District 3060’s global grant for a whopping ₹1.8 crore ($240,533) to provide ventilators to hospitals in Gujarat and Maharashtra for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, was “approved in less than 30 hours. This is the biggest ever grant that our district has applied for and got,” said an excited District Governor Anish Shah.
The GG or Disaster Management Grant application was for funding ventilators on an urgent basis to 31 hospitals in the two States to help the state administrations to deal with people infected by Covid-19. It was submitted by RIDs 3060 and 2430. “We submitted the application during the weekend, after due diligence and keeping in mind all the parameters and information that TRF needs. It was apparently taken up on Monday and by Tuesday it had been cleared,” he says, thanking “DGSC Manish Shroff for initiating the grant and DRFC Ashish Ajmera for guiding us on this GG. And of course TRF and Trustee Gulam Vahanvaty, and RI Directors Dr Bharat Pandya and Kamal Sanghvi for their support,” he added.
He said the district decided to quickly apply for the grant as “we realised that when even sophisticated countries like the US and European countries like Italy which have such wonderful medical infrastructure, are struggling to deal with the onslaught of this virus, in India our healthcare systems are grossly unprepared to deal with the large numbers likely to be infected.”
Going by the research done by ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research), which predicted that India would need thousands, and probably several hundred thousands, of ventilators in a worsening coronavirus scenario, the district decided to do a GG to provide this critical equipment to 31 hospitals. “But in India, critical care hospitals are located in metros and big cities. And to transport or support a patient who is critically ill, particularly during the Covid-lockdown, is a huge problem for the economically challenged people in villages and small towns.”
On the other hand, several government-run ICUs have limited resources and lack infrastructure, equipment and trained support staff. But when given a helping hand through private partners and the voluntary sector such as Rotary, the chances of saving a much larger number of lives improve dramatically.
In any scenario, and particularly during a pandemic, the cost of providing quality critical care is very high, and “almost impossible for the economically challenged patients to bear,” said DG Shah, adding, “this funding will help us get 31 badly needed ventilators.”
A grateful DRFC Ashish Ajmera added: “Absolute salute to our Foundation for of course approving this grant, but more than that, the manner in which they are responding to Covic-related issues is fascinating… they are doing this for something that we never saw, heard of or even imagined.”
He added that under the disaster management grant, “we have supplied 4,900 sets (PPE kits, N95 masks and a bottle of sanitiser) to each club in our district, based on its membership strength.”
Another GG approved for RC Valsad
DG Shah said that while the grant for the district was approved in less than three days, “another global or disaster management grant for our club took an even shorter time. My club — RC Valsad — had plans to put up a high-end ventilator and provide training to use critical care equipment to the staff of the local charitable hospital — Kasturba Hospital — where this equipment was badly needed.”
He said Valsad town is located in a district with a high percentage of economically backward people. And the club had carefully chosen to donate a ventilator that could provide a 3-in-1 service, giving critical care to neonates, children and also adults. This hospital is being run by a charitable trust and it charges very nominal amount that the locals can afford. Though it has skilled and qualified doctors, nurses and other technical staff, a constant challenge is to find funding to get modern medical equipment that can save lives.
The total budget for this grant is ₹38.65 lakh ($51,547) and the project is being done in partnership with RC Belleville les 2 Fleuves, RI District 1710, France, he added.