News Update/Press Release
Health cannot wait: Doorstep healthcare services to the underprivileged
31st May 2021, New Delhi: The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the country and seems to be even more devastating than the first. Fighting the new, more infectious variant of the virus, frontline health workers are working round the clock even as hospitals run out of beds and oxygen supply, and thousands succumb to preventable deaths. India has become the second-worst affected country, with more than 24 million cases, and more than 270,000 deaths.
During this time of need, Smile Foundation has come forward with its ‘Health Cannot Wait’ campaign to strengthen the existing public health infrastructure.
Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation said, “The pandemic has put to test the entire healthcare infrastructure, and our main motive is to support the country, help the underprivileged get timely access to healthcare, and spread awareness to tackle vaccine hesitancy in remote areas.”
“It is important to understand the reality and educate everyone about the virus. Young people are much more affected in the second wave,” Mishra added.
The Health Cannot Wait campaign solicits long-term investment through donations to strengthen COVID care centers with critical supplies like oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators and oximeters. It entails the setting up of oxygen banks for critical patient support among vulnerable communities, mobilization of PPE Kits, N-95 Masks and sanitizers for frontline health workers, distribution of Hygiene Kits (including masks, soaps, sanitizers, oximeters) to the vulnerable population, tele-counseling to dispel vaccine hesitancy, spread awareness on COVID-appropriate behavior and the provision of primary healthcare services to reduce the load on existing health infrastructure.
So far, Smile Foundation has provided 27.7 million meals to more than 200,000 families in 23 states of India. It aims to provide three square meals to more than 250,000 families and is working to provide 50,000 home isolation kits to Covid patients.
An important part of the campaign is the provision of free tele-consultation to the underprivileged through a toll-free number for tele-calling and outreach through bulk SMS service. The tele-consultation will emphasize the personal and community benefits of vaccination. Its objective is to address questions of people who are hesitant to get vaccinated, dispel myths, give them the right information, and encourage them to get vaccinated. Smile Foundation has sensitized more than 100,000 people through tele-counseling and aims to reach out to 500,000 people through this medium.
Smile Foundation is providing doorstep healthcare services to around one million people from 2,200 marginalized communities in 14 states. It aims to benefit 2 million people with mobile hospital & telemedicine projects in FY 21-22.
The Health Cannot Wait campaign has so far provided over 80,000 protective gears to frontline health workers and aims to provide 1 million protective gears to frontline health workers. As part of this campaign, so far, over 2,00,000 hygiene kits have been provided to vulnerable communities, and the target is to provide 500,000 hygiene kits.