While urban cities have more doctors, and support of its citizens and corporates, rural and suburban centres have suffered from lack of adequate medical infrastructure and organized citizen support. Even as the pandemic raged through India, it swept up rural India in the second wave. Typically primary healthcare in rural India is handled by community health workers. They form the backbone of the Indian public health sector. Due to an acute shortage of doctors in rural areas, community health workers provide 75% of primary care without any formal expertise. Often, they serve as a bridge between the rural population and the health sector by helping individuals, families and groups with basic healthcare services and access to resources. However, during the pandemic, they have often been overlooked and under-resourced to adequately respond to the enormous influx of critical patients and the strain placed on health centers across India. Due to lack of protective gear and equipment, even the community health workers reduced their door to door activity, for fear of their own health and helplessness to be able to do more without equipment.
Bihar is the third largest state in India with 89% rural population. Patna and Vaishali are the largest districts in Bihar that suffered from community spread of Covid-19. Amidst this dire situation, a survey conducted by Saku Health, a non-profit organization focused on the community health workers, indicated that the community health workers could not do their best to support the local population due to lack of supply of PPE kits and oximeters. As the threat of another wave looms over India, especially large parts of rural India, the community health care workers working voluntarily have requested helping hands towards procurement of basic equipment to be more ready to handle another surge.
Based on a consultation with medical professionals, epidemiologists and health workers of Patna and Vaishali, we are organizing this fundraiser to fulfil the equipment needs of 500 community health workers from the districts of Patna and Vaishali. We are pledging 100% of the donations towards a goal of Rs. 400,000 to procure the following:
- 500 PPE kits - Rs. 225 + GST per piece
- 500 Oximeters - Rs. 400 + GST per piece
You can adopt one or more caregivers (spending per caregiver Rs. 740) through this fundraiser. We will update you with details of the caregiver/s you adopted and about the distribution of the equipment to them once the goal is reached.
About Saku Health
Saku (www.saku.health) was founded as a non-profit public charitable trust aimed to provide a training platform for Community Health Workers (CHWs) in rural India in 2019. Our goal is to organize information sessions, provide supplies and spread awareness regarding the importance of CHWs during these times of crisis in the Indian public health sector. We also work towards bringing training, tools and low cost solutions for CHWs.
In India, more than 70% of primary health care is overseen by untrained and unskilled Community Health Workers. The onset of a debilitating global pandemic has further exacerbated the structural issues that plague our healthcare system: across India, hospitals and medical facilities are struggling to bear the huge influx of infected patients, while the supply of basic equipment continues to be in short supply. These frontline health workers are fighting to treat thousands of Covid-19 patients and require immediate support.
Visit our website at saku.health to find out more about our cause. For further reading about Community Health Workers, you can visit below:
National Geographic - https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/see-how-rural-india-has-been-overrun-by-the-pandemics-second-wave
Times of India - https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/covid-19-rural-india-worst-hit-in-2nd-wave-says-report/articleshow/83248710.cms
WHO - https://www.who.int/hrh/documents/community_health_workers.pdf