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How Did India Land In This Crisis And What Are Organisations Doing To Help?

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

*Trigger Warning: Covid-19*

Covid-19, being the most fragile disease of all times, has led to countless deaths in 2020 and getting even more threatening in the following year, 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. The disease has put doctors in a dilemma — who haven’t seen such a deadly incident in their entire professional life.  

Moreover, in 2021 India remains the only country to get affected brutally. India has been logging global daily records of over 3,00,000 cases for the last five days. The country saw 3,52,991 new infections and 2,812 COVID-related deaths in the past 24 hours. Altogether, 1,95,123 people have died, while 17.3 million people have been infected with the virus in India.

Daily Life Amid Coronavirus Pandemic In India
Representative Image. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

What landed India in this ugly Mess?

  • The answer here is a collective failure. The centre has failed to reach the fast-emerging second wave.
  • In the impending crisis, no red flags were given to alert the people.
  • The centre failed to implement the lessons learned from the first wave for the known possibility of the second wave.
  • Failure to preempt shortage of vaccine for our own population.

This is where the Indian government faced criticism for not prioritising its own population.

Likewise, India also faced a drastic decline in medical equipment. The few most effective equipment falling short of are oxygen cylinders, ventilators, oxygen concentrators and beds. We need immediately dispense these appliances for action to happen immediately to improve the situations.

Oxygen is a crucial treatment for many patients with severe Covid-19 since the disease affects lung function. One of the tell-tale symptoms is shortness of breath, which can be followed by pneumonia as the lungs fill with fluid.

Why are hospitals running out of Oxygen?

  • Oxygen isn’t really easy to move. Tanks of compressed gases will solely go on roads or trains and can’t be flown on planes (Oxygen concentrators, on the other hand, that suck oxygen out of the air to realise a high concentration can be safely fly.)
  • Now, these tanks ought to travel farther than ever before to stay up with billowing demand within the states in the north and west India that don’t have any production capacity.
  • Another bottleneck for obtaining oxygen wherever it’s required is the cryogenic tanks that hold compressed oxygen that can’t be factory-made quickly.
  • One of the country’s largest medical chemical element corporations says the explanation for the shortage isn’t offer; it’s obtaining oxygen wherever it’s required. “Just the means the pandemic has hit us once in a very a hundred years, similarly, no one expected the necessity for oxygen to manoeuvre such massive distances to happen.”

The vast majority of the factories that manufacture oxygen in India are settled in the eastern part of the country — more than one thousand miles from major cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.

Officially, India’s daily oxygen production capability is 7,127 MT and its medical O demand has enlarged by 76% in 10 days — from 3,842 MT on 12 April to 6,785 MT on 22 April. On paper, that leaves the country with some hundred metric tons still to spare. However, state after state has complained of acute shortage.

Supply chain: Until 2019, before the pandemic hit the country, India needed simply 750–800 MT liquid medical oxygen (LMO); the remaining was for industrial use. Since 18 April this year, industrial offer has been utterly disrupted.

Hoarding and price rise: A small 100-litre cylinder costs ₹8,000 and on top of up to ₹4,500–5,000, and its replenishment value has come up from ₹150–250 to ₹500–800 in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and alternative cities. In Tier-II and Tier-III cities, replenishment prices vary from ₹400 to ₹600.

Exploring alternative avenues, India is tapping into all resources. With supply to industries cut since 18 April, oxygen produced in iron and steel plants being entertained for medical use, and industrial oxygen manufacturers being inspired to supply oxygen. With these measures, the government claims to raise LMO capability by 3,300 MT.

Banquet Halls Converted Into Covid Care Centre In Delhi
Representative Image. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Doctors have risen to challenge and amid the storming numbers. The National Clinical Covid-19 register has known a key information point: 54.5 % or one out of 2 individuals admitted in hospitals want element support throughout treatment this time. This can be a 13.4 % increase from last year’s peak throughout September and October, in step with information from 40 centres across the country.

What about the use of oxygen concentrators? Atmospheric air has 21% of oxygen. Inflamed lungs are able to filter little or no amount of oxygen. If we tend to provide 4–5 litre per minute oxygen medical care to somebody with 85–90 saturation, the chemical element saturation improves by 26–28%.

If we tend to increase oxygen supply to 15 litres, saturation rises to 90%. Direct offer of pure chemical element puts less pressure on the alveoli; however, the dose will scar respiratory organ tissues.

How companies have stepped Forward

  • Tata Group and Reliance Industries Limited are two of the largest firms that have pledged to support the government’s effort to extend the assembly and provide medical oxygen or liquid oxygen.
  • Jindal Steel and Power has committed to supply 500 metric tons of oxygen and is actively dispatching it to needy hospitals.
  • Meanwhile, corporative fertiliser major IFFCO aforementioned on Monday that it would set up four Oxygen plants at a value of roughly ₹30 crores within the next 15 days. The oxygen plants are started in the province, Gujarat and Odisha. The plants are placed up at Kalol (Gujarat), Aonla and Phulpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Paradeep (Odisha).

Providing food, drugs and hygiene kits: NGOs are responding to the present pandemic, supporting health centres, raising awareness concerning the way to forestall outbreak and providing essentials starting from medicine and hygiene kits to PPE.

Maintaining critical health systems: We are adapting existing programmes to confirm essential health services are maintaining throughout full or partial lockdown. They have a tendency to operate with partners to mitigate the secondary impact of Covid-19 in areas like maternal and kid health, sexual and fruitful health, gender-based violence and non-communicable diseases like TB and malaria: building post-crisis recovery into their emergency response.

Spreading information and health messaging: Besides providing relevant data to street-living communities through “speaker boxes”, they are frequently feeding many vulnerable families and providing soap and face masks.

Supporting women and young people: Remote communities are being reached through existing relationships with native authorities and native women leaders are answerable for community awareness-raising by sharing key messages via megaphone alongside the utilisation of radio broadcasts, mobile hotspots and social networks.

Getting funds and emergency relief to vulnerable communities: NGOs have made efforts to line up an emergency response fund to supply immediate small-scale funding to frontline partners to produce life-saving help to extremely vulnerable communities in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Asian nations and Brazil.

In a state of crisis, India wants as much help as it can get. And once continuing spread means that the next likelihood of vital mutations arising too. Serving India isn’t simply a significant humanitarian decision, it’s one of the simplest ways to beat COVID-19 for good.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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