Countering COVID-19 Financially and in Kind

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As we enter another day watching the outbreak taking an uphill climb, the nation and its citizens stand resolute to overcome this challenge. The disease is rapidly spreading, leaving its mark on one’s physical, mental and financial well-being. Yet, we stand, strongly united. Here is another wonderful compilation of companies, organisations and individuals who are going the extra mile to lend a helping hand and ease the burden faced by the medical fraternity, migrant labourers, the homeless and the poorest of the poor.

Mpower 24×7 Helpline
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on the mental health of Indians, with many feeling unsafe, at-risk leading to a rise in anxiety and stress. To alleviate these mental health concerns, Mpower, a pioneer in Indian mental healthcare has partnered with the Government of Maharashtra and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to launch a toll-free helpline number – 1800-120-820050 called ‘BMC-Mpower 1on1’ that will be available to citizens 24×7.

Available free of cost for people across the cities of Maharashtra, the helpline comprises experienced and trained mental health counsellors, who are clinical psychologists and psychiatrists from Mpower – The Centre, Mpower – The Foundation and Mpower – The Cell, to provide much needed mental healthcare counsel and support. The service is available in Marathi, Hindi and English to address any mental health concerns faced by citizens of Maharashtra during these trying times.

“These are times when the world is seeing an unprecedented crisis that the human race has never imagined or faced before. As a result, everyone has been forced to stay home to stay safe. Although this has given many a rare opportunity to bond and spend time with families, there will also be a sense of anxiety, disappointment and anger with the future of the global economy, our jobs and how the human race reached here. For that, the Maharashtra Government is launching a helpline for better mental health, fully supported and equipped by Neerja Birla. I’m thankful to her and Mpower for their addition to our efforts, which will turn out to be most crucial for all in the coming times.” said Aditya Thackeray, Cabinet Minister of Environment, Tourism and Protocol, Government of Maharashtra.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent government-mandated national lockdown, we have observed an increase in mental health concerns. Amidst the social isolation, people tend to feel lost and don’t know how to reach out and express themselves. To make mental healthcare more accessible and provide a trusted platform, we have partnered with Mpower, a leading mental health service provider to launch this toll-free helpline. We encourage the citizens of Maharashtra to make maximum use of this service, to come out stronger as we battle this outbreak together,” said Praveen Pardeshi, Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai.

“As the world battles one of its biggest health crisis, where physical health is of utmost importance, mental well-being can often be neglected as an outcome of prolonged isolation and ongoing uncertainty. In these trying times, it is natural for us to feel anxious and stressed, and now more than ever, we need to be more mindful and take care of our mental health. With BMC-Mpower 1on1 helpline, we aim to increase awareness about mental health and make it more accessible to the citizens of Maharashtra. We thank GoM dignitaries Mr Aditya Thackeray (Minister of Environment, Tourism and Protocol), Mr Rajesh Tope, (Minister of Public Health & Family Welfare), Dr Sanjay Mukherjee (Secretary Medical Education & Drugs Dept.), Dr Pradeep Kumar Vyas (Principal Secretory Public Health Dept.), and Mr Praveen Pardeshi, Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai for their active support and co-operation to this initiative. We together urge citizens of Maharashtra to speak up and seek help during these challenging times,” said Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson, Mpower.

Pristyn Care – Dedicated Helpline and Testing Centres
With the current lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak in India, the routine process of going to one’s nearest doctor for a consultation has become impossible. Pristyn Care, a health-tech company, has established a control room for addressing any query related to COIVID-19 through the dedicated helpline number 801-000-2266. The control room functions as per protocols of WHO and the Ministry of Health to profile high-risk segments of the population. The company has also launched telemedicine through online consultations to address generic queries of cough, cold, fever, aches and pains, etc. and prescribe suitable treatment through online prescriptions. These online consultations will help people seek advice from experts without having to travel, thereby reducing the risks of exposure and spread. Telemedicine will act as a safety valve for India’s strained healthcare system, thereby increasing the citizen’s safety and bolstering the workforce to screen many more patients than in face-to-face encounters.

Pristyn Care has also partnered with over 50 laboratories across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad to conduct COVID-19 detection tests, authorised by the Government of India and The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The test can be booked on the website, or on-call, post an online doctor consultation. Patients can provide samples at their nearest lab or certified phlebotomists can collect them from the patients’ homes. The report will be made available to the patients within 24-48 hours of the sample collection.

Launching the new business capability, Harsimarbir Singh, Co-founder, Pristyn Care said, “Since people are unable to visit doctors, they resort to either self-diagnosing their symptoms or self-medicating, both of which can be detrimental to their health. We must inculcate the habit of consulting specialists for health issues. From online consultation to getting tested to providing hospitalisation if required, we at Pristyn Care have developed a full stack of healthcare services to serve patients. So, anybody can call our helplines and reach out to our internal team of doctors for consultation.”

ICICI Lombard – Funding Screening Procedure
ICICI Lombard General Insurance, one of India’s leading non-life insurance companies, has introduced a unique CSR programme to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harnessing its experience and relationships in the healthcare space, it has partnered with Apollo Health & Lifestyle Ltd., a subsidiary of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., and Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. to curtail infection among India’s underprivileged populace. As part of the exercise, it will fund the entire screening procedure, including the testing kits required for examining probable cases infected with the virus. It has committed a sum of Rs Five Crore for the initiative that will benefit the underprivileged section of the society. The exercise will also cover the Antyodaya Ration card and BPL Ration cardholders.

Bhargav Dasgupta, MD & CEO, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, said “In these challenging times, the underprivileged section of the society is highly vulnerable to COVID-19 pandemic. Their timely screening is the first step to curtail the spread of the virus. Being a leading health insurer, we thought of harnessing our relationships with healthcare service providers. We believe that our partnership with Apollo Health & Lifestyle and Metropolis Healthcare should add to the Government efforts towards expanding the COVID-19 screening infrastructure for India’s masses.”

ICICI Lombard, Apollo Health & Lifestyle and Metropolis Healthcare will work towards creating awareness about the initiative among the beneficiaries through their various mass reach platforms. The endeavour should significantly contribute to the government’s efforts towards curtailing the spread of the virus among the masses.

Deltin Group – Contribution to Goa CM’s Relief Fund

M3M Deltin Group President Operations Anil Malani, handing over the cheque to the Chief Minister of Goa – Dr Pramod Sawant

As the nation comes together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Deltin Group has donated INR 5.10 million to Goa’s Chief Minister Relief Fund to pledge its support to the people of Goa in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Deltin Group is also sourcing and procuring essential items like medications, medical devices, essential food products and other provisions for the people of Goa for tackling the unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis arising from the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Talking about the initiative, Jaydev Mody, Chairman, Deltin Group mentions, “We, at Deltin, have pledged our support in Goa’s fight against the coronavirus disease. These are challenging times for all and many remain vulnerable to COVID-19. Deltin Group believes in creating awareness amongst the general public about the pandemic and providing humanitarian aid to the needy. We are all in this together and the need of the hour is to watch each other’s back. Also, I would personally like to thank everyone on the frontlines working to combat COVID-19.”

Toyota Kirloskar Motor – Providing PPE Kits and Daily Essentials
In light of the overwhelming consequences being faced by the medical staff at hospitals and daily wage earners due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) announced to provide Personal Protective Equipment kits to the medical staff and public health workforce in Karnataka. Further, the company will also distribute daily food rations and essential kits to daily wage workers through the local district administration in Ramanagara near Bangalore. These initiatives are in continuation of TKM’s relentless efforts to counter the epidemic, making a key contribution to the Government’s fight against the epidemic.

The nation is facing an unprecedented public health emergency with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting several parts of the country. The doctors, paramedics and other hospital staff who are at the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 are susceptible and require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to carry out their duties effectively. In this situation, to support the efforts of the Government, TKM is providing PPE kits to Government Health Volunteers based on the requirement. The distribution of the hazmat suits will be executed in a phased manner wherein 1000 sets of the suits will be provided in Phase I followed by distribution of 2000 sets in Phase II. The 21-day lockdown announced by the Government to contain the spread of the virus has also had an impact on the lives of the daily earners across the country. In such uncertain circumstances and juncture of social distress, the company will also provide 1000 essential kits and food supplies to the daily wage workers, benefitting over 5000 members in the community. Each kit consists of 20 food items and essential. TKM is in constant touch with the Karnataka Government and will continue to evaluate, adequately supplement existing initiatives as also suitably enhance the scope of its support in the fight against the pandemic. Additionally, to support the cause of ICARE [TKM’s employee volunteerism platform], volunteers provided 27 boxes of food kits that support around 30 families.

Sharing his thoughts on the initiative, Vikram Gulati, Country Head & Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Public Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility & Corporate Governance, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “In these challenging times, the Central and State Governments have put forth exceptional efforts to counter the crisis. At this hour of need, TKM as a committed Corporate is joining hands with the Government of Karnataka and persistently working with them to support healthcare employees and daily wage earners in every possible manner. We truly appreciate the measures taken by the Government and encourage everyone to adhere to the guidelines given by them. We will continue to monitor the situation and extend support wherever needed to safeguard the well-being of society.”

Smile Foundation – Providing Free Ration, Tele-Consulting and Counseling
With the economic distress and ongoing lockdown, Smile Foundation is distributing free ration to the underprivileged society and also providing tele-consulting and tele-counselling. Through these sessions, Smile will be talking about how to prevent COVID-19 by practising social distancing and maintaining the hygiene of self and surroundings.

Approximately 40,000 families (more than two lakh+ people) across 10 worst-hit States, namely Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Punjab will benefit in the first phase of ration and essential services distribution.

“During the last 15 years we must have worked with more than 12 disasters, and every time, we have reached out to the ones in need. This is something far bigger than anything that has happened in the past, and our strength, that is, community reach, has become our weakness in this scenario as being physically present on the ground is challenging. We are constantly guiding and training our health teams to deliver primary health needs to the underserved community by way of tele-counselling. Safety for one and all is our priority.” said Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation.

Smile Foundation has developed a two-pronged strategy to mitigate this crisis and aims to reach 1,50,000 such families in phases by providing dry ration thus, securing them against goods scarcity in the wake of a possible virus outbreak and basic necessity kit as part of immediate relief for a month in the current times arising out of COVID-19. The kits include rice, dal, salt, oil, sugar, masks, sanitary pads, soap to name a few and other essentials.

Allcargo Logistics – Contribution to CM’s Fund
Allcargo Logistics, one of India’s biggest integrated logistics services provider and the global leader in LCL consolidation, has contributed to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in Maharashtra and supporting various initiatives to help migrant labourers, daily-wage earners as well as doctors and paramedics who are on duty. It has also collaborated with Khushiyaan Foundation for running community kitchens and distribution of food in Bhiwandi, Thane and Navi Mumbai. Being industrial hubs, these are catchment areas for underprivileged workers who would require help during these trying times. The organisation has also supported a similar initiative in Delhi, India’s capital city that is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases

Avashya Foundation, the CSR arm of Allcargo Logistics, is collaborating with the Dean’s Office and Head of Social Work Department, Sion Hospital to assist doctors and paramedics discharging their duties at Sion Hospital and Seven Hills Hospital.

Allcargo also motivated its employees to generously donate from their salaries and a contribution of INR One Crore was made to the CM’s Relief Fund in Maharashtra. A donation was also made to the PM-CARES Fund.

“As an integral part of society and as responsible citizens committed to our duty towards the nation, the time to act is right now. It is unprecedented challenges like these that bring society’s vulnerabilities to the fore and call on us to show care, compassion and generosity. We will continue our efforts and I would urge all the Corporates and individuals to come together and contribute to the cause of COVID-19 relief. I wish health and safety for everyone and hope we emerge stronger from this crisis,” said Shashi Kiran Shetty, Chairman, Allcargo Logistics.

Simpolo Ceramics Donates to PM-CARES and CM Fund
COVID-19 has taken all of us by surprise. It is a crisis that no nation would have expected to face. But it has taught us to be sensitive about our surroundings and also be very careful about cleanliness and changing our outlook and approach to life. The 21-day lockdown encourages every citizen to do their bit to end this pandemic by simply staying home.

Taking its role as a responsible company seriously, Simpolo Ceramics immediately sprung into action and contributed Rs. 50 Lakhs to PM and CM-CARES Funds to fight the COVID menace and help bring the country to normalcy.

As Jitendra Aghara, CMD of Simpolo Ceramics puts it, “We feel privileged to be able to contribute to the safety of our country. These are testing times. But we all need to stick together to help the nation overcome this catastrophe. It is a crisis like this that expects all of us to play our part effectively in whatever way possible to bring the country back to normalcy sooner.”

Elaborating further, Bharat Aghara, CMO of Simpolo Ceramics mentioned, “We have over 3500 workers and all of them are stationed in Morbi. We have arranged for food and essential supplies for over 2000 employee families already for the next one month. Taking care of our employees and workers is the least we can do during such a crisis and we will continue to do as the situation demands.”

Multi-coloured Masks Distributed by Bihar-based Social Activist Sarvesh Tiwari

While the nation fights the pandemic, is under lockdown to reduce the transmission risk and citizens are adhering to various precautionary measures including social distancing, social activist Sarvesh Tiwari has come up with a creative and effective way to help people with social distancing by distributing masks among those in need. The distributors use gloves and stick as precautionary measures while giving away the masks to minimise chances of transmission. Having started his campaign from MusaharToli, Sarvesh Tiwari aims to supply 20,000 masks to people in need.

Another highlight of this campaign is that the masks being distributed are of different colours, which makes it a first-of-its-kind initiative toward this cause in the country. The variety of colours helps ensure that they are not exchanged within family members, helping to ensure individual safety. For women, there are red and pink masks, for men it is blue and black while the children are being given white masks.

One of the beneficiaries of the campaign, a resident of Musahar Toli, Rudal Manjhi said, “Neither we can buy good quality masks owing to the lack of money, nor we can go out to the market to purchase it due to the nationwide lockdown. In such a scenario, many families including mine are benefitting a lot from this initiative by Sarvesh Tiwari.”

“Whenever a pandemic breaks out, the marginalised communities of society become the most vulnerable. The first reason behind this is the lack of awareness among their population and second is the lack of resources to avail precautionary tools and measures. Keeping this in mind, I decided to distribute masks among such sections of society at utmost priority while taking all possible safety measures, before the situation gets out of control. In these times demanding social distancing, this indigenous way of distributing masks using a stick is very easy to put into practice and people are adopting it very enthusiastically,” said Sarvesh Tiwari.

The campaign is not only limited to this initiative alone. The people from other states that are returning to their homes are also being provided with a free medical check-up by a specialist so that in case they are found positive they may receive treatment on time. This also helps to prevent the spread of the disease in the villages.

M3M Foundation – Shelter and Food for Stranded Labourers
Amidst the nationwide lockdown, M3M Foundation the philanthropic arm of M3M Group has extended support to 5000 daily wage earners and construction workers. M3M Foundation is providing rice, pulses, vegetables, clean drinking water, and milk for toddlers and growing children. Apart from this, they will also be providing soaps for personal use, washing clothes and handwash. Fumigation and sanitisation of the camps are also being undertaken. The volunteers will also be spreading awareness of social distancing and hand hygiene.

Roop Bansal, Trustee, M3M Foundation said, “We appreciate the government’s decision for a complete lockdown to tackle the present situation. However, due to the suspension of railways, many construction workers and labourers could not go back to their homes, therefore, we are supporting each of them with basic needs.”

Dr Payal Kanodia, Trustee, M3M Foundation said, “Our initiative is being undertaken in a bid to provide relief to more than 5000 daily wage earners and construction workers who are the worst hit in all aspects due to this pandemic. Therefore, we will be fulfilling the daily needs of all the labourers until the lockdown is over.”

One of the beneficiaries Rambriksh Sahni said, “We are thankful to M3M Foundation for helping our families during this difficult time. Basic food is of utmost importance and by providing this they have made our lives easier. We trust that this difficult time will pass smoothly from M3M Foundation’s support to us.”