This is a press release issued by the SIO to the media.
As Covid patients across the country scramble to find oxygen, beds and other healthcare facilities, Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) have organised a nation-wide team of volunteers to connect them with these resources as quickly as possible, they claimed in a release issued to the media.
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The ‘Covid Relief Task Force’ has over 1,000 volunteers spread across all the states, who are working round the clock to ensure that Covid patients get oxygen, bed, plasma, medicines and other help they need before it’s too late.
Within a week of being set-up, the team has fielded around 6,000 requests and has provided verified information about resource providers to around 3,000 patients.
The patients and their attendants convey their requirements through dedicated 24×7 helpline numbers and social media, while the volunteers map resources across the country and also verify the publicly information about the availability of healthcare facilities. The patients are then connected to the relevant resource providers. A control room has been set up at JIH’s headquarters in Okhla, New Delhi to coordinate the entire effort.
“The country is facing an acute shortage of oxygen and beds. The patients and their loved ones are running from pillar to post for their medical needs. While the social media is flooded with contacts for various resources, it’s a cumbersome task to sift through them to find useful ones, especially when one is dealing with an emergency. The aim of the Task Force is to save the valuable time of patients and free them of all this hassle,” said SIO National President Mohammad Salman Ahmad.
SIO and JIH began the exercise on April 25 with two 24×7 helpline numbers and around 30 Delhi-based volunteers. Within days, state- and district-level volunteer teams were set up to help people across the length and breadth of the country. Additional helplines were started in West Bengal, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to cover a wider set of patients more quickly. The organisations also carried out a drive to register plasma donors, many of whom were then connected to the patients.
“SIO has always been at the forefront when it comes to extending a helping hand to those in need, irrespective of their faith. We believe that it’s our responsibility as Muslims to be beneficial to humankind,” Salman Ahmad said.
Over 40% of the requests received by the task force on central helplines are for Oxygen, while around 30% are for hospital beds. More than 20% callers sought plasma donations, while the remaining requests pertained to medicines such as Remdesivir and Tozilizumab. Around 40% of the callers hailed from Delhi, followed by 20% and 14% requests from Uttar Pradesh and Telangana, respectively.
“We understand that most of the requests are from Delhi and UP as these states are facing the severest shortage of medical facilities. Despite our best efforts, we are not able to find sufficient leads for patients from these states. We hope that the central and state governments will realise their responsibility and provide relief to the people,” said Ahmad.