Ekal leading fight against Covid in rural India

By Prakash Waghmare 

In India, Covid-19’s second wave hit hard suddenly and with the force of a tsunami. The country was caught off guard and ill prepared for the toll it took. But the focus has revolved mainly around the urban areas’ rural-tribal areas have received scant notice. This is because last year, the villages had fared well in the first wave. But this time the situation has changed.

Explains Bajrang Bagra, CEO of ‘Ekal Abhiyan’ (federation of all Ekal organizations), “The serious aspect of the pandemic this time is that it has struck even in the countryside where, unfortunately, medical infrastructure and facilities are not as strong as they are in the urban areas.”

Fortunately, Ekal has the most widespread network of volunteers and collaborators in the deepest corners of villages in India – in over 100,000 villages. That’s why Ekal has undertaken a comprehensive well-coordinated offensive against the pandemic with support from allied organizations.

Last year, Ekal’s successful initiative against Covid was based on self-monitoring, self-reliance, education and cooperative exchanges. It included an awareness campaign about hygiene, social distancing, food distribution, mask-making and restricting movements. The new offensive incorporates all these steps in the direct-action roadmap, and has started a proactive counter campaign against misinformation about the vaccine, the danger posed by Covid and voodoo-treatments.

With extensive reach well beyond its footings, Ekal has mobilized tens of thousands of its school teachers for this campaign. Ekal-Arogya (Health Foundation) has established 24-hour Telehealth lifeline (# 011 41236457) for medical counselling. According to Ramesh Shah, Ekal Global Coordinator and an advisor to Ekal-USA, “Currently more than 350 National Medico Organization doctors in India and some in the US are manning the helpline.”

In addition to various financial aid projects for the villagers, Ekal has earmarked $1 million just for Covid relief. It is converting its 29 ‘Gramotthan Research Centers’ and ‘Integrated Village Development Centers’ into corona isolation camps, fully equipped with oxygen concentrators, PPE kits, Oximeters and basic medicines. After making provision for hundreds of beds, it is dispensing Ayurvedic, Homoeopathic and Allopathic medicines as deemed necessary.

According to Arun Gupta, Chairman of Ekal-USA, “Ekal has lost many volunteers to Covid and has created an endowment fund of $500,000 – $1 million to assist their families. It is supplying 15,000 Oximeters and infrared thermometers to its ‘Arogya Sevikas’ (healthcare workers). It has created resident facilities for thousands of its city volunteers. Ekal intends to extend emergency medical services to 5 million people. It is running vaccination centers in collaboration with the local government. These efforts are being spearheaded by Dr. Mukul Bhatia in India and Dr. Rakesh Gupta in the US with support from healthcare specialists.

In this national crisis, Ekal is working alongside organizations like Sewa International, AAPI, Seva Bharati, and Mission Oxygen. It is assisting humanitarian groups who have collected funds for the pandemic in India but lack a distribution network to disburse them.

Ekal is appealing nationally and internationally to its donor-base to contribute to its 4 relief-work packages: Diagnostic Kits $50/village; Telehealth Lifeline $500/30 villages; Supporting Covid Center $5000/Center; and Supporting Covid Victim $5,000/Family.

Ekal’s youth groups are also active in creating awareness and raising funds for this unprecedented fight against the pandemic. One example – Arnav Enaganti from Michigan has taken an initiative to raise funds for Oximeters, PPE Kits and Oxygen concentrators.

Ekal is confident that with everyone’s help, we can defeat this deadly virus, once and for all.

Donate generously at www.ekal.org

Bajrang Bagra, CEO, Ekal Abhiyan

Image courtesy of .

Share this post