The whole world is still reeling under the effects of COVID19 pandemic and so is India with its far deadly second wave. The second wave has presented itself with a unique challenge, the lack of medical oxygen. Unfortunately, the authorities were not able to predict this and hence were unable to make necessary arrangements.
People are dying due to lack of oxygen and on the other hand it has given rise to a black market of oxygen supplies. Along with many private and public companies, UNICEF has also extended its helping hand. United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund had decided to build 26 oxygen plants in India and has supplied over 4000 oxygen concentrators.
UNICEF Helps India: Builds Oxygen Plants
Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF’s representative to India was quoted saying, “The deadly COVID-19 surge has put enormous pressure on health care facilities in India. At the heart of the crisis is the desperate need for oxygen. For those suffering from severe COVID-19, oxygen support in time can make the difference between life and death.”
He credits the success of this effort to the donors and supporters all over the world. In an expediated effort to provide relief against the oxygen shortage, UNICEF is already installing 9 of the 26 oxygen generating plants in hospitals in Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. All the 26 plants are scheduled to be built in various hospitals in Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Tripura.
UNICEF also plans to provide 14 additional plants in the coming months. The oxygen generating plants are being built in the hospital premises so that piped oxygen can be directly made available to the patients on their beds. This will help save so much time as well as effort.
UNICEF Helps India: Supplies Oxygen Concentrators
Additionally, UNICEF is also providing 4,650 oxygen concentrators for immediate relief across hospitals in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal etc. Concentrators make breathing easier by taking in air from the atmosphere and providing oxygen. Previously acquired concentrators numbering 3000 are already in use in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Furthermore, ten states have also received the shipment of 512 High Flow Nasal Cannulas.
Other UNICEF Supplies Include
- UNICEF has supplied 238,272 units of cold chain equipment which include walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers, ice-lined refrigerators, deep freezers, solar direct drive fridges, cold boxes, vaccine carriers and voltage stabilisers. These facilities will magnify India’s vaccine storage capacity at both national and state level. These 1389 cold chain points through 523 districts will help India in routine COVID-19 vaccinations.
- UNICEF has collaborated with Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to facilitate testing in India by installing 85 RT-PCR testing machines in 73 laboratories across 25 states. Two hundred additional machines are to be acquired as well as 100 RNA extraction machines.
- 24 airports and 11 seaports have been equipped with 74 mass thermal scanners by UNICEF.
- UNICEF also distributed 8.5 million triple layered masks and 1.75 million face shields across the country to aid personal safety.
UNICEF’s Work For Children
According to a report by Ministry of Women and Child Development, 577 children have lost their parents to COVID-19 from April 1 to May 25, 2021. Working closely with state governments, UNICEF is working hard to rehabilitate children orphaned due to COVID-19. The efforts include tracking their extended family, administer counseling and settling in shelter homes and registering on national CHILDLINE. UNICEF empowers frontline workers to support these children.