NRIs Step Up To Strengthen Health Infrastructure In South Gujarat

When the country is witnessing a deadly second wave of Covid-19, Non-resident Indians (NRIs) have stepped up to install oxygen plants in Surat and Navsari-based hospitals.

Support by the NRI diaspora poured in from across the world as the second Covid-19 wave surged in Gujarat. As a result, about seven hospitals of Surat and Navsari districts are now equipped with oxygen plants worth between Rs 20,00,000 and Rs 50,00,000. These NRIs have their roots in South Gujarat, and they are currently working under several forums in different parts of the world to help strengthen health infrastructure so the districts can be prepared to battle the third wave.

Leuva Patel Samaj (LPS) USA, for instance, has sponsored oxygen plants for around six hospitals.

“Focusing on the third wave, the NRI community wished to build infrastructure in their native towns and villages,” elaborated Bhavesh Patel, president of Surat District Panchayat. “Other than oxygen plants, they have provided medicines, equipment like oxygen concentrators etc.”

Patel has been coordinating with the LPS of the United States. The district officials target to set up 1,000 beds with oxygen support in rural areas of Surat in the coming few weeks through NRI funding and other donations.

Another organisation, Desai Foundation in Boston, USA, has been offering several welfare services in small pockets of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Uttar Pradesh (UP), Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

“We are working on setting up a help desk that will assist callers in three different languages,” said Samir Desai, founder of Desai Foundation. “Medical equipment from the US, France and China are being shipped to India.”

Nainesh Desai, a UK-based NRI with roots in Sarbhone village, Surat, supplies medicines and injections to Maliba Covid Care Centre.

A group called United We Breathe, Humanitarian Aid of US, has sponsored 200 oxygen concentrators to Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and other hospitals in Bardoli and Navsari.

“300 more are yet to supply,” stated Champak Patel, a hotel owner in Dallas who is involved with the United We Breathe group. “People from different regions of the US contributed in collecting Rs 1.78 crore for the concentrators.”

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