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Ekal on Offense to Aid Rural India in Efforts to Stop COVID-19 Surge

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Publication: Indiawest.com
Date: May 19, 2021
URL:    https://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/ekal-on-offense-to-aid-rural-india-in-efforts-to-stop-covid-19-surge/article_1ac6dbb4-b8e8-11eb-b96c-8fd1a4b05d06.html

With India in the midst of a COVID-19 surge, the Ekal organizations have gone on the offensive against the spread of the virus in rural India, said Prakash Waghmare, of the Ekal organizations, in a press release.

The country was caught off guard and ill prepared for the toll it took, said a news release. All the focus of the grave situation revolved mainly around the urban areas and rural-tribal areas received scant notice, it added.

There was a reason too for this apathy towards the rural community. Last year, the villages had fared quite well in arresting the spread of corona, by and large, and the majority of folks there had remained immune to it, Ekal said in the release.

Well into 2021, the situation changed, it noted.

According to Bajrang Bagra, the CEO of Ekal Abhiyan, “the serious aspect of the pandemic, this time around, is that it has struck even in the countryside where, unfortunately, the medical infrastructure and facilities are not as strong as they are in the urban areas.”

In rural India, Ekal has the most wide-spread network of volunteers and collaborators in the deepest corners of villages, it said. It has firm presence and unwavering support in over 100,000 villages. That’s why Ekal has undertaken a comprehensive well-coordinated offensive against the pandemic, with support from its allied organizations.

Last year, Ekal’s successful initiative against COVID-19 was based on self-monitoring, self-reliance, education and cooperative-exchanges. It included a wide-spread awareness campaign about the hygiene, social distancing, food distribution, mask-making and restrictive movements.

The new offensive has not only incorporated all these steps in the direct-action roadmap, but also, has started a proactive counter campaign against misinformation about the vaccine, the danger posed by COVID-19 and voodoo-treatments, the release said.

With extensive reach well beyond its footings, Ekal has mobilized tens of thousands of its school teachers for this information campaign. Ekal-Arogya (Health Foundation) has established an around the clock (# 011 41236457) service for professional medical counseling.

According to Ramesh Shah, Ekal global coordinator and an advisor to Ekal-USA Board of Directors, “currently more than 350 National Medico Organization doctors in India and some in U.S. are manning the helpline every day.”

In addition to various empowering projects for the economic sustenance of the village folks, Ekal has earmarked one million dollars just for COVID-19 relief.

It is converting its 29 Gramotthan Research centers and Integrated Village Development centers into corona isolation camps, fully equipped with oxygen concentrators, PPE kits, oximeters and basic medicines, the release added.

After making provision for hundreds of beds it is dispensing Ayurvedic, Homoeopathic and Allopathic medicines as deemed necessary.

“Ekal has lost many volunteers to Covid, and so Ekal has created an endowment fund to the tune of $500,000 to $1 million as an assistance to their families. It is supplying 15,000 oximeters and infrared thermometers to its Arogya Sevikas,” Arun Gupta, chairman of Ekal-USA Board of Directors, said in a statement.

It has created resident facilities for thousands of its city volunteers, throughout its reach. Ekal intends to extend emergency medical services to 5 million people, the release said.

It is running vaccination centers in collaboration with the local government. These efforts are being spear-headed by Dr. Mukul Bhatia in India and Dr. Rakesh Gupta in the U.S., with support from numerous healthcare specialists, the release said.

In this national crisis, Ekal is working alongside various organizations like Sewa International, AAPI, Seva Bharati, Mission Oxygen and few others.

It is assisting many humanitarian groups who have collected funds for Indian pandemic but have no proper distribution network to dispense them, the release added.

Ekal is appealing nationally and internationally to its donor-base to contribute to its various relief-work packages. Currently there are four donor-packages have been floated: Diagnostic Kits $50/village; Telehealth Lifeline $500/30 villages; Supporting COVID Center $5,000/center; and Supporting COVID Victim $5,000/family.

Ekal’s youth groups are also active in creating awareness and raising funds for this unprecedented fight against the pandemic. Ekal says it is confident that with everyone’s help, it can defeat this deadly virus.

Donations and more information can be found by visiting www.ekal.org.
 
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