NEW DELHI: As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has persisted across India, with devastating effects, Smile Foundation’s ‘Health Cannot Wait’ campaign is helping strengthen public health infrastructure in the country and is providing critical equipment.
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 29 million cases, and more than 353,000 deaths.
During this time of need, Smile Foundation has come forward with its ‘Health Cannot Wait’ campaign to strengthen public health infrastructure.
The campaign has recently received support from S&P Global, a leading provider of credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics in the global capital and commodity markets, via their India Corporate Social Responsibility Fund.
Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation said, “As the pandemic rages on, there is an urgent need to strengthen systems and provide relief to as many people as possible. All stakeholders including corporates, citizens, the government, and civil society organizations are unitedly addressing the situation. We are delighted to partner with S&P Global, as their support goes a long way in reinforcing our efforts under the Health Cannot Wait campaign.”
“Through S&P Global’s outreach efforts, we are committed to supporting our local communities, particularly in times of most acute need. Through our partnership with Smile Foundation, we are proud to help by providing protective gear for frontline workers as part of the ‘Health Cannot Wait campaign’s efforts across Mumbai and Delhi NCR,” said Nilam Patel, Managing Director, India Operations, S&P Global.”
The Health Cannot Wait campaign solicits long-term investment through donations to strengthen COVID-19 care centers with critical supplies like oxygen cylinders, oximeters & oxygen concentrators. It entails the setting up of oxygen banks for critical patient support among vulnerable communities, mobilization of PPE Kits & N-95 Masks for frontline health workers, distribution of Hygiene Kits (including masks, soaps, sanitizers, oximeters), tele-counseling to dispel vaccine hesitancy, spread awareness on COVID-19 appropriate behavior and the provision of primary healthcare services to reduce the load on existing health infrastructure.
So far, Smile Foundation has provided over 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-19 patients.
An important part of the campaign is the provision of free teleconsultation to the underprivileged through a toll-free number for tele-calling and outreach through bulk SMS service. The tele-consultation emphasizes 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. So far, 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 kits of protective gear to frontline health workers and aims to provide 1 million protective gear kits 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.
Smile Foundation is an NGO in India directly benefitting over 15,00,000 children and their families every year, through more than 400 live welfare projects on education for poor children, healthcare, livelihood, and women empowerment, in over 2000 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India. Adopting a life cycle approach of development, Smile Foundation focuses its interventions on children, their families, and the community.