The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet behind us. But in India, where thousands have been infected and over 385,000 have died due to the virus, Vijwa and Maisi Pahadia breathe a sigh of relief.
When the second COVID wave hit India in early May, all eyes were on the capital, New Delhi. The Indian health care system was collapsing under the pressure of a rapidly rising COVID-19 case count. Hospitals did not have sufficient beds and there was a shortage of the oxygen and medical supplies needed to treat COVID patients. Images of mass burials and the grief stricken filled newspapers, television screens, and social media.
In rural regions, like Jharkhand in eastern India, cases were also rising and there was even less likelihood that COVID patients would get the care they needed. On May 4th, Indian officials reported 59,675 COVID cases in Jharkhand; with a 3.57% positivity rate and a 1.22% death rate. But the numbers were likely much higher. In rural villages where families often do not earn enough to purchase sufficient food for daily consumption, they are unlikely to seek medical attention. The reality is, many COVID cases and deaths probably went unreported.
To try to slow the spread of the virus, the Indian government ordered a lockdown. For Vijwa and Maisi the lockdown felt like a death sentence for their family. The Pahadias, daily wage laborers, could no longer work to feed their five children. The family’s small farm does not produce enough to meet the family’s basic needs. And, because the schools were closed, the meals their children would have received at school were no longer available. Vijwa and Maisi were terrified that their family would starve to death.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, World Renew is now working with a local partner in Jharkhand, EFICOR, to distribute hygiene kits to 5,495 families in 123 rural villages in the Malto and Santhal districts of Jharkhand. In these rural villages, where there has been a great deal of misinformation surrounding COVID and the vaccine, EFICOR is educating families so they can better protect their health, including sending awareness materials via WhatsApp. EFICOR has also overseen the administration of COVID vaccinations to 600 people. In addition, to date 620 vulnerable families, including the Pahadias, have received a cash transfer that was made available at a local village kiosk to save recipients having to travel to a bank to access the money. EFICOR is in the process of making cash transfers available to another 535 families.
The response of World Renew supporters to the COVID-19 crisis in India has been heartwarming. Thank you for sharing God’s love and his hope with families like the Pahadias. Your generosity has not only eased the financial burdens on vulnerable families, it has also helped to save the lives of COVID patients. World Renew also worked with ADRA, another local partner in India, in response to the crisis, and this is what ADRA’s executive director, Steve Matthews, had to say:
“The donation of World Renew has equipped hospitals in India…with Oxygen Generation Plants, ventilators, multipara monitors, oxygen concentrators, various other medical equipment, essential PPE materials and enabled the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
As a direct result of this intervention, we have jointly contributed to the 28.1 million recoveries of the 29.5 million COVID-19 cases in India. These hospitals are now equipped to handle the current caseload of patients and any future surge of COVID-19 or other respiratory illness for many years to come.”
Thank you for your gifts and your prayers that have made this work possible.