Bhubaneswar: Several NGOs in Odisha are performing yeoman service for COVID-19 patients and their families by getting them admitted to hospitals as well as arranging essential items like food, oxygen and medicines for them.
Odisha Bytes met the members of two such organisations to know of their selfless service during the raging second wave of the pandemic.
The members of Sahaya, an NGO, have been assisting COVID patients and their attendants at government hospitals in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Puri since the first wave of the pandemic.
“Basically we help the helpless COVID patients and their relatives at government hospitals. We also provide medicines prescribed by doctors at people’s doorsteps,” said Sahaya Secretary Kailash Chandra Sarangi.
At present, 17 volunteers from Sahaya are now working in Cuttack, 17 in Puri and 12 in Bhubaneswar. They guide people about COVID testing, registration and other formalities at the hospitals.
“Some patients with lot of complications don’t even know what to do and where to go. We assist by taking them to a hospital and provide medicines and food. We also help serious patients to get admitted at a hospital,” said Sarangi.
“Besides, we create awareness among the people on how to break the chain of transmission. With the help of e-rickshaws provided by Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar, our members move around the premises and create awareness on wearing masks properly and maintaining social distancing,” he added.
Working with COVID patients, however, comes at a cost for the members. Some of them were infected with the virus, including some this week.
But that hasn’t dented their enthusiasm to serve humanity during these dark times. “We take all precautions and use PPE kits provided by the hospitals. Still some of our members have tested COVID positive,” the Sahaya office bearer said.
Sarangi informed that he has been engaged in social work since 1997. The NGO Sahaya was set up in 2005 to basically help destitute patients and victims of road accidents.
It also provides wheel chairs and stretchers to needy people free of cost.
ENVOY, a Cuttack-based NGO, is similarly engaged in helping needy patients during these tough times.
“Since the past few days, the number of COVID patients seeking ICU beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators and drugs has been increasing. But due to the lack of proper information and communication, many of these patients have succumbed even before they could find any means of treatment,” said ENVOY spokesperson Sahista Sultana.
This is why volunteers from this NGO are working day and night to provide all possible help to cut down on mortality.
“With this lockdown, we thought it is better to help the people around with whatever we can by virtual means. Lack of medical facilities, lack of timely intervention, and lack of knowledge and information among the common people about available resources cause more deaths. We are trying to address that issue,” said Sahista.
Explaining their functioning, Sahista said, “When we receive a request for COVID related help on social media or through the phone, we immediately confirm the patient’s details and try to reach out to all possible sources of help like hospitals, oxygen vendors and dealers of essential drugs near the patient’s location.
“After confirming the authenticity of those sources, we connect them with the patient’s family. They act as a link between the sponsors and the needy. This helps save time and effort for the distressed relatives of a patient,” she added.
Even though it has less than 15 volunteers, ENVOY has been able to help a lot of patients in different parts of Odisha as well as some parts of India in the past few days.
The volunteers also help people find COVID testing facilities near their homes and even help assist those in home isolation to avail medical consultation.