I’m sure, like me, you have been shocked to see the scenes in India of people being turned away from hospitals in Delhi due to a lack of oxygen. On 24 April, India reported nearly 350,000 new cases of COVID-19, a world record for the number of new infections during the pandemic. By early May, some estimate this figure could reach 500,000 new cases per day, and 800,000 to 1 million a day by mid-May (excluding undetected cases, which could conservatively be between 10 and 20 times more).
That is why over the weekend, we joined forces with a coalition of business networks, charities and other organisations to launch an India and COVID Response. Our aim is to address the immediate need for oxygen-related equipment and medicines, as well as the longer-term need for preventative health and hygiene measures.
We are heartened to see many individuals and organisations stepping forward, on their own or in coalitions. For our part, to help ensure we are complementing and coordinating, we are connecting into as many other efforts as we find.
On our website, we are also listing programmes looking for funding, including the British Asian Trust, UNICEF, CARE and others.
This is a fast-moving situation and, most urgent, is getting a clear picture of needs. We are receiving intelligence from people across our network. One good resource is this list of needs compiled by the US Chamber of Commerce and US-India Business Alliance.
We are calling on our community to take action in one or more of the following ways:
- Supply: Do you supply or have access to oxygen-related equipment or essential medicines?
- Logistics: Do you have logistics infrastructure and/or expertise, internationally or nationally?
- Funding: Can you provide or help raise funding for organisations that are providing urgent supplies?
- Knowledge: Do you have relevant expertise that can support rapid learning, such as in oxygen delivery and logistics?
- Networks: Do you have global or local networks that can support local action, in any of the areas described here?
To get involved, visit our India and COVID Response site: https://businessfightspoverty.org/india-and-covid-response/
The coalition includes a growing number of partners focusing on their own areas of expertise.
- Brands on a Mission which spearheaded the successful rapid response in Kenya, with the creation of the National Business Compact on Coronavirus.
- Crown Agents, a leading procurement and supplies international organisation, is helping to source supplies from alternative suppliers in other countries.
- The Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School has been collaborating with Business Fights Poverty on a Business and COVID-19 Response to guide company decision-making.
- A number of business networks and organisations with global and local reach, including the British Asian Trust, the World Economic Forum COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, Concordia, Maitri and CARE.
If you are coordinating an effort globally or internationally, please let us know as we are keen to connect and work together for greater impact.
We have an incredibly short time window to get urgently needed supplies to the people who need them in India. We are calling on businesses and others with the expertise, knowledge, networks and funds to support in any way you can.