Piramal Foundation, NITI Aayog unveil COVID home care drive

Initiative covers 112 districts and will reduce pressure on health system, says Ajay Piramal

The Piramal Foundation in support of the NITI Aayog has announced plans to provide COVID home care to 20 lakh citizens staying in rural areas.

The Foundation which has been working in 25 districts helping in COVID care to senior citizens since last year has now expanded its scope of work to 112 backward districts called “Aspirational Districts’.

Both entities on Tuesday unveiled ‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan’ which will be rolled out in these 112 districts to assist the district administrations in providing home-care support to patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

Most of these districts are in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra, foundation officials said.

Campaign to address emerging problems

This campaign is under the special initiative — the Aspirational Districts Collaborative — in which local leaders, civil societies and volunteers will work with the district administrations to address emerging problems in a district across key focus areas.

The campaign, initially for three months and can be extended as long as required, will be led by the Magistrates of these districts in partnership with over 1,000 local NGOs that will enlist and train over 1 lakh volunteers to connect with patients through inbound/outbound calls.

The Piramal Foundation, with over 750 people on the ground, will support the district administrations in the training of the NGOs and the volunteers.

“The campaign is expected to play a key role in district preparedness for managing nearly 70% of COVID cases at home, reducing pressure on the health system, and stemming the spread of fear amongst the people,” said Ajay Piramal, chairman, Piramal Group, in an interview.

‘We aim to reach every affected person in these 112 districts. We call all stakeholders — government, NGOs, communities, and others — to join hands and offer their service in this initiative,” he said.

“The NGOs will mobilise local volunteers to provide home-care support to those affected, based on the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” he said adding the Foundation will deploy whatever resources required to support this programme.

Volunteers will be trained to support 20 affected families each by educating caretakers to follow protocols, provide psycho-social support and timely updates about patients to the administration.

Correct usage of oxygen concentrators

The campaign will also undertake capacity building of citizens for correct usage of oxygen concentrators supplied to these districts.

In a statement, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, ‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan is a significant initiative that responds to immediate needs and will provide long-term support to India’s poorest communities in the Aspirational Districts by addressing the lasting impact of COVID-19.’

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