Posted on August 2, 2021 Join hands to ease India’s COVID pandemic crisis

Join hands to ease India’s COVID pandemic crisis

Benjamin Chan

August 2, 2021


The US-based Vellore Foundation has shared how U.S. Faith-based institutions are joining hands to support the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore to respond to the COVID pandemic in India in his newsletter The Passages. The Foundation’s Executive Director John A. Riehl wrote, “In times of human hardship and without regard to geography, the U.S. faith-based community has repeatedly responded to the needs of those affected by tragedies of every kind while also assisting with the long-term recovery of the community in which the survivors live. The U.S. faith-based community is often characterized by both its informal and formal contributions to disaster relief. Informally, our faith-based community partners help us rally around community members to offer moral upliftment and to assist in fulfilling unmet needs. In a more formal manner, the Foundation’s faith-based partner organizations enter into mutual aid agreements with us as we partner to stage the best and most appropriate response to disaster situations, most recently the second wave of the COVID pandemic in India.

“Starting in March 2021, the number of new COVID cases in India began to rise rapidly. The outcome was that the total number of people testing positive for the coronavirus quickly rose to and exceeded 15 million. During this period, hospitals in every part of the country began to exceed their capacity to admit new patients. The Christian Medical College of Vellore (CMC) was no exception. When the second wave hit, there was a lack of adequate equipment – ventilators and oxygen concentrators – to provide proper respiratory therapy; there was an overwhelming need for personal protection equipment (PPE); also needed was the ability to create access to patient care without regard to one’s ability to pay. The requirement to quickly and adequately train medical personnel in the skills needed to treat COVID patients(particularly those with the most severe symptoms) was immense, and most importantly, there was a need to quickly acquire and administer the COVID-19 vaccines –Covishield and Covaxin – that are approved for emergency use in India.

“All of this began to unfold just 12 to 14 weeks ago, and what has occurred since has been nothing short of extraordinary – perhaps better stated, nothing short of “amiracle”! Literally hundreds of individuals and institutions from throughout the United States faith-based community came to the aid of CMC. Through the financial support of such nationally recognized institutions as American Baptists International Ministries, Bloom India, Gospel Missions of India, Paul J. Sumanth Ministries Inc., Reform Church in America (RCA), Samaritan’s Purse, and United Methodists Committee on Relief (UMCOR) as well as local parishes that included Bethany Memorial Reformed Church, Country Club Christian Church, Grace Trinity United Church of Christ, and New Dover United Methodist Church, CMC built its capacity in the following ways:

*The addition of two (2) twelve-bed ICU pods

*The permanent installation of two (2) new Oxygen generators

*The acquisition of thousands of N95 masks, face shields, and gowns

*The purchase of desperately needed non-invasive ventilators and oxygen concentrators

*The provision of funds needed to support charity care for COVID patients with all levels of severity

*The purchase of more than 9,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine in support of CMC’s ‘Vaccinate Vellore’ initiative.

“To those institutions mentioned (and to the hundreds of people within Christian communities from across the country), whose generosity changed the landscape of CMC’s response to the second wave of the COVID pandemic, both CMC and the Vellore CMC Foundation express their profound gratitude.”

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