Large social organizations and individual humanitarians have taken commendable efforts to help India fight the second wave of the pandemic. But most of these initiatives have only been able to reach big cities and large hospitals. Rural areas are awaiting even the most basic medical assistance.
Situated in the Vindhya forest of MP, Umaria is a small tribal district with about 1 million population. The district isn’t a well-known place in itself but its Bandhavgarh National Park is a popular tourist destination. A national reserve with the highest density of tigers, Umaria is the original home of two tribes: Gond and Baiga.
The 150,000 Baiga people didn’t even have rights to their ancestral homes until 2016. It isn’t hard to believe Baiga is an endangered primitive tribal group that needs constant public support. Gond people aren’t any more privileged.
You can read more about Umaria on Wikipedia. Please find information on the Gond tribe here and understand the Baigas community by going through this page.
Current Situation in Umaria, MP
Umaria gets 250-300 new COVID cases daily. The district has close to 1000 active cases at any given time. Out of these 1000 cases, many patients need medical care for up to 8 to 10 days per patient. Umaria has a 200-bed district hospital with 30 oxygen beds and 10 ICU beds. It has three smaller community health centers in the small towns of Manpur, Karkeli, and Pali. There are no private health clinics or hospitals. Specialized doctors haven’t reached Umaria, yet.
The tribals — 70% of Umaria’s population — close to 700,000 people — live in unreachable forest areas. Inhabitants who are quarantined in isolation centers or far-off homes need to be on constant oxygen support to stabilize. But these isolated patients don’t get oxygen that easily as there aren't enough concentrators. Without oxygen, the condition of some of these sufferers deteriorates fast. By the time they arrive at the district hospital in a state of urgency, even the doctors can’t do much.
Umaria’s health system has critical gaps that cannot be plugged in instantaneously due to the immensity of the crisis. The area’s remoteness and country setting makes it difficult to procure resources.
What does Umaria need?
Umaria needs at least 50 oxygen concentrators immediately. These oxygen concentrators will be split between the three community health centers. Patients with moderate symptoms will be provided oxygen there. Thus more patients will be stabilized early on in the treatment process, and the health system won’t get overwhelmed.
With OCs at the isolation points and homes, the rural inhabitants would be motivated to report symptoms and seek help sooner. They will trust the health infrastructure which in turn would provide the essential support on time.
Many precious lives would be saved by deploying more concentrators.
How can you help?
We need to raise funds to obtain the oxygen concentrators right now. The availability of these oxygen concentrators is constantly fluctuating. Even the fastest delivery for any orders placed right now will take at least 10-12 days.
Luckily, we have found the availability of oxygen concentrators that cost about INR 100,000 (~USD 1360) each (including the shipping cost and taxes). For the required 50 concentrators, we need to raise INR 5 million (~USD 68,000).
Every donation towards this cause will directly save priceless lives.
We are IIT Alumni (Indian Institutes of Technology) working to help rural districts fight COVID in India. Our group recently campaigned (details here) and successfully raised INR 4,800,000 ($65,000) to procure 50 oxygen concentrators (OC) for the Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh(MP). As soon as the OCs are received, they would be deployed to provide essential life support. You can also read about the humane Mandsaur initiative on BusinessInsider.
Thank you for taking out the time to read about our cause.
This effort is done in collaboration with Anshul Gupta, the Additional Collector of Umaria district. Anshul is also an IIT alumnus.
The district administration will be happy to send utilization certificates to each donor to show where the donation was utilized. If anyone wants to contribute in the name of a specific person, the administration will be happy to get the names engraved on the OCs. We will also keep you updated on the status of the concentrators throughout this campaign.
Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further queries. We also request you to share this campaign with your family and social circle to help Umaria immediately.
A humble thank you to all. Stay safe.