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Here's how India Inc contributed to India's fight against the second wave of COVID-19


Here's how India Inc contributed to India's fight against the second wave of COVID-19

India was hit hard by the deadly second wave of COVID-19 hit in March 2021 and the medical infrastructure in the country was overwhelmed with the surge in cases. Hospitals reported an acute shortage of oxygen, ICU beds, PPE kits, masks, medicines, and other medical equipment.

To control the situation, the Centre and state governments worked on a war-footing to provide the required medical infrastructure and minimise the damage caused by the pandemic. Besides the state machinery, NGOs, caregivers, individuals, temple trusts, etc., also helped India deal with the brutal second wave.

Corporates too played a crucial role as they mobilised resources and offered support. From providing oxygen concentrators and PPE kits to added hospital beds at their facilities, organisations mobilised their forces to address the needs of their employees, family members, and of course the larger community to contribute to India's fight.

The immediate steps by India Inc truly reflected India's collective force. Thus, to recognise companies that supported the country during such challenging times, Network18 and AB InBev held a special discussion titled ‘Collective Force: India Inc. unites to tackle the second wave of COVID-19' during which government officials, NGOs, and corporates spoke about how they addressed the situation.

The panellists included Uma Mahadevan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Panchayati Raj, Govt of Karnataka; Adil Zainulbhai, Chairperson, Capacity Building Commission; Anshu Taneja, Country Director, VisionSpring; Rajesh Krishnan, Executive Director, United Way; and Anasuya Ray, VP Corporate Affairs- South Asia. AB InBev along with Moneycontrol's Chandra Srikanth about joining forces and road ahead.

Here are the excerpts:

“Civil society and the corporate sector have come together to create a strong partnership to fight against the pandemic and to help those who are in need of help at this very difficult time. Both with the state, augmenting its supplies and putting in place a very strong system to manage the available oxygen supply efficiently, and with the help of civil society and corporate donors, who came forward in large numbers to support us with oxygen concentrators, cylinders, other accessories, liquid oxygen, a tremendous outpouring of support helped us both urban and rural areas. The process of preparing for additional oxygen is ongoing.” Uma Mahadevan

“It's quite amazing how the corporate world has jumped in a variety of ways to help. Firstly they all started with is how can we look after our people and every single corporate has put an enormous effort to create a central cell that looks after the health of each of their workers. In the second wave, most of these companies are now putting a huge effort into vaccinating everyone. They are helping the government by taking care of vaccinations of all of their employees and their families.” Adil Zainulbhai

“The need of the hour was oxygen concentrators, hospital beds, ICUs, medicines etc. What we had to do was immediately set-up those crisis teams, central teams which were coordinating efforts on a pan-India level, both for our internal people and external stakeholders whom we work with. What was also essential was the quick turnaround time. A lot of effort went from each and every team to get concentrators in time so that we can work with the state governments, give it to the hospitals where it was needed.” Anasuya Ray

“We decided to look at efforts that are immediate and medium to long-term. We are really working to augment the capacity of the medical infrastructure with various initiatives. We are supporting close to about setting up 500 of these beds and 100+ ICU beds which are going to be permanent structures, multiple of these oxygen plants and other things. The key takeaway is to keep medium to long-term also in perspective.” Rajesh Krishnan

“The second wave hit us pretty hard, all of us were unprepared. So, we had to again drawback on our strengths that we had created as an organisation for COVID-19 response, included few dimensions in our response like oxygen equipment, and have been helping our partners across the country including AB InBev on how we could quickly take oxygen equipment and supplies to healthcare partners. We are also preparing our team to work extensively on vaccine registration and removal of vaccine hesitancy.” Anshu Taneja

Watch the full discussion here