Unaudited totals since Jan. 1, 2010
in medical aid
doses of medicine
pounds of medicine and supplies
healthcare providers supported

COVID-19 in India: Direct Relief’s Response

Medical aid is staged for departure to India in response to the country's Covid-19 surge. The shipment is being transported, free of charge, by FedEx. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Medical aid is staged for departure to India in response to the country’s Covid-19 surge. The shipment was transported, free of charge, by FedEx. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Due to record-breaking case counts, Direct Relief has ramped up emergency efforts to India’s Covid-19 crisis, including with an infusion of oxygen for critical patients, requested medications, PPE, and financial resources for frontline health providers working to protect patients.

Direct Relief is responding with several key resources:

Oxygen for recovering patients: Medical institutions in India have been struggling with severe shortages of oxygen, the demand for which has risen exponentially due to the increase and severity of cases. Oxygen concentrators are among the most vital items needed to treat people with severe Covid-19, who often arrive at hospitals with extreme hypoxemia.

High-flow oxygen concentrators are used in hospitals to treat patients needing intensive care, while low-flow concentrators can help hospitals safely discharge patients who are stable but require at-home breathing support. Direct Relief is providing thousands of oxygen concentrators in response, transported by FedEx, free-of-charge, via donated 777 charter flight. These will be distributed to medical facilities in India caring for Covid-19 patients.

Airlift Delivers Oxygen to India

Essential medicines for patient care: In addition to provisions of personal protective equipment, or PPE, the organization’s early identification of expected intensive care medication needs made it an important source of scarce medications during the crisis. Direct Relief is able to respond within its unique operational strengths as a charitable distributor of medical aid, and work directly with pharmaceutical and medical technology companies to solicit donations of requested medicines and treatments from health professionals caring for Covid patients.

Funding for health organizations responding locally: As is the case in all emergencies, the pre-existing gaps get bigger as resources are redirected to the emergency. That’s why Direct Relief’s focus since the onset of Covid-19 has been on supporting its partner network of safety net health facilities that care for people who are among the least fortunate and most vulnerable to crises. In addition to committing $5 million in support for the crisis, Direct Relief is also acting as a fiscal agent for donations made ACT Grants, ensuring that 100 percent of donations made for Covid response honor donor intent and designation.

Data and analysis to inform policies: To inform its efforts and those of other response agencies, Direct Relief is providing analysis and information products to nonprofits, government agencies, and emergency response groups for targeted and efficient emergency response.

Positioned to Respond

Direct Relief has provided medical assistance to disaster response teams, medical facilities, and healthcare programs in India since 1960. Direct Relief has worked with a wide range of partners in both countries, from medical outreach camps to rural clinics and hospitals, community-based health centers, and tertiary level facilities in large urban areas.

Since January 2020, Direct Relief has delivered 4,000 oxygen concentrators to forty-five countries, including India, as well as large quantities of PPE, other medical resources, and cash grants.

Direct Relief is currently working with local and international nonprofits, global logistics companies, and large-scale medical product manufacturers to source and transport oxygen concentrators and other critical items into India, and will continue to respond.

For the latest on Direct Relief’s global Covid-19 response activities, see:

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