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Indian healthcare sector and Covid-19; How philanthropy brought revolution amid the pandemic

GV Krishna Reddy led GVK EMRI, and Piramal Swasthya of Piramal Foundation amongst others brought gyration in containing the pandemic, helping millions across the nation in uncertainty

Perhaps, the most difficult time for humanity since world war second broke out, Covid-19 brought the fast-moving world to a halt. Over millions have already perished and has left billions in extreme difficulties and uncertainties. However, such a time also made us witness unprecedented collaborations across the world between corporate leaders and the governments to tackle the pandemic. In India, several illustrious personalities in the business fraternity actively made generous donations to the government designated funds to fight the spread of the deadly virus. Along with contributing to the state fund, Chairman Dr. GV Krishna Reddy ensured that GVK EMRI’s strong infrastructure spread across the states to be utilized for the service of the people.

Part of the social service arm of the GVK Group — GVK Foundation, GVK EMRI has established state-of-the-art emergency ambulance services across the nation in 15 states and two Union territories, in a unique PPP model. When the Covid-19 pandemic spread to India, GVK EMRI employed its deeply rooted infrastructure to help the governments in containing the spread of the deadly virus.

In India, over 1 crore COVID-19 cases were reported with over 1.5 lakh deaths. In other words, at the national level 97 percent recovery, 1.5 per cent deaths and 1.5 per cent active cases were being reported at the end of the year 2020.

GVK EMRI by December 2020, cumulatively reported nearly 15 lakh COVID-19 linked transfers. Average per day COVID-19 transfers were around 7000. It touched a peak of 10,000 per day. Currently it has declined to around 1400. The concept of 4000 dedicated ambulances of GVK EMRI identified at the beginning of the pandemic, for transporting the affected patients, is now slowly getting diluted as per the government protocols. But GVK EMRI continues to provide uninterrupted emergency response services and the expected support by various state governments even in the gradually declining phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GVK EMRI was established by Dr. GV Krishna Reddy to provide free emergency ambulance services in a unique Public Private Partnership (PPP) with State governments and UTs. Over the last decade, the efforts of GVK EMRI has been appreciated by people across the spectrum. Piramal Swasthya, on the other hand, tied up with seven states for providing healthcare information amid the pandemic on its Health Information Helpline – 104. The helpline received around 2.5 lakh calls throughout the lockdown, addressing at least 20,000 calls a day. Paresh Paranis, CEO of Piramal Foundation, while commenting on the development, said, This initiative has helped in creating awareness thus bringing down the anxiety and fear in the society caused due to the coronavirus.”

“We at Piramal Swasthya continue to work in partnership with Government, in the remotest part of the country, to address the COVID-19 pandemic. While the country is under a lockdown for safety, our team is working round-the-clock to ensure that there is enough awareness related to COVID-19 among the marginalized communities,” he added.

Similarly, Dr. GV Krishna Reddy observed that Covid-19 was something that was never expected and nobody was ready. But with perseverance and ready infrastructure, GVK EMRI lent a helping hand to all the State governments and two UTs where it is present, to transport Covid-19 patients to the clinics that were set up for their treatment. GVK EMRI, being a committed organization in the service of the nation, saw it as an opportunity to come closer to the people by providing these additional services by earmarking ambulances for the exclusive transportation of COVID-19 patients.

Several other organizations responded effectively to the crises. One such initiative that was founded during the early days of the pandemic, was the setting up of COVID Action Collaboration (CAC) that was formed by nonprofit healthcare organization Swasti along with The Catalyst Group and multiple other NGOs. It proved to be an extraordinary platform to be efficacious towards providing holistic services to the vulnerable section of the society across the states. From providing nutrition to financial support, CAC helped over 2 million people residing in 15 states of the nation.

Indeed the most difficult time, the pandemic also showcased how philanthropy can bring concrete results to society. Dr. GV Krishna Reddy once said, When one’s corporate vision ventures beyond business success, true change begins.” Now, when India is about to get vaccinated with some of the indigenously developed vaccines, such stories of active philanthropical collaborations will continue to inspire the coming generations. With the testing time almost getting over, the aforementioned infrastructure created during the pandemic will help the healthcare sector in India in taking quantum leaps.

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