As virus explodes in India, Northeast Ohio organizations quietly step up

Virus Outbreak India
Posted at 8:00 AM, May 01, 2021

CLEVELAND — About a year ago, America locked down, masked up and embarked on a grueling year of death, sickness, social isolation, stymied learning and economic hardship. The idea was to avoid the worst from coming to pass and having our health-care system overwhelmed. We avoided that outcome. India has not.

In the New York Times’ grim account of the situation, “Indian hospitals cannot cope with the demand, and patients in many cities have been abandoned to die. Clinics across the country have reported an acute shortage of hospital beds, medicines, protective equipment and oxygen,” with the Times adding, “Families of the sick are filling social media with pleas for oxygen as supplies run low at hospitals or because they are trying to administer care at home.”

Here in Northeast Ohio, organizations connected to India have quietly begun to organize a response.

The Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio is making volunteer doctors available to provide tele-consultancy with patients. It’s also planning to raise funds to provide oxygen, medicine and ventilators through the Red Cross. “It is a sad situation, and AIPNO feels the pain and suffering of our friends and families over there,” said Dr. Dharmesh Mehta, the organization’s president.

The Cleveland chapter of FICA, the Federation of Indian Community Associations, has pledged $5,000 and has begun collecting donations on its homepage for a Covid Relief Fund.

The Cleveland Clinic
The week of May 3, the Clinic says it will be shipping more than 115 pallets of PPE including face masks, face shields, gloves, cots and mattresses to the Indian Red Cross Society to support hospitals. In addition to having a presence there, many Clinic employees have family in India.

The Clinic is directing those who want to make a monetary donation to do so here. “Contributions will be used to purchase needed medicine, supplies and equipment such as oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines,” said communications manager Jenna Homrock Scotch. “Once funds are collected, we will send a second shipment to India. Once a second shipment is compiled using philanthropic donations, the shipment will be sent to the Indian Red Cross Society for distribution.”

If your organization is involved with helping India through the current crisis, please email with details of your efforts, and we will add to this article.

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