An Israeli nonprofit announced Wednesday that it was dispatching a large shipment of medical aid to India, where hospitals are struggling to cope with a huge spike in coronavirus cases.
IsraAID is buying supplies especially for the consignment, which will depart from Tel Aviv in the next few days. They include oxygen machines and other essentials that hospitals are lacking to treat COVID-19 patients, and may be expanded to include syringes for vaccination.
In the last week, India has been reporting some 350,000 new daily cases, more than any other country at any point during the pandemic. “We have watched closely with concern as we’ve seen growing case numbers in India and the reports coming out of the country in recent days, and it became clear that the time has come to act,” IsraAID spokesman Ethan Schwartz told The Times of Israel.
Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s CEO, called the situation in India “overwhelming” and said that sending aid is an act of global responsibility.
“With life in Israel returning to a pre-pandemic ‘normal,’ it is crucial to remember our shared responsibility to partner with communities facing the worst of it,” he said. “The pandemic will not be over for anybody until it is over for everybody.”
The organization is responding to requests from healthcare providers and nonprofits in India, and is working with the the Israel-India Forum at Tel Aviv University. As well as assembling and dispatching the aid consignment, IsraAID will soon start providing advice and support to the healthcare community in India, through a combination of online training and local partners.
“We will be giving help with technology and data processing solutions that can help deal with health challenges,” said Schwartz. “And we will also be helping to respond to the devastating secondary effects of the pandemic.
“This includes mental health challenges, and we’ll be hoping to address the trauma being faced by medical staff. This is an important part of what is needed, and in a sense it’s helping the helpers.”
Milette Shamir, vice president for international affairs at Tel Aviv University, said: “We are very proud of our ties with Indian universities and have been blessed with the incredible students that have come from India to study at Tel Aviv University. At this difficult time, we feel it is imperative to do all we can to assist the people of India.”
The India initiative is the latest of several IsraAID initiatives to hep battle the pandemic. Last month, it sent a delegation to the the southern African country of Eswatini to advise on vaccine rollout, and in early 2020 it provided medical supplies and training to hospitals in China.