A FedEx 777 cargo plane landed in Mumbai this morning with 81,000 kg of medical equipment for the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) and its associated hospitals for distribution across India. The chartered flight carried in 3,400 portable oxygen concentrators along with 300,000 N95 masks.
A few hours later, an Air India passenger plane landed in Delhi with an additional 400 concentrators. These are the third and fourth shipments that Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) has brought in over the past two weeks.
Dr Rajendra Badwe, Director of TMC, says, “We have the singular focus of getting these units to the hospitals throughout India so that many can breathe well.”
Gitika Srivastava and Dr Naresh Ramarajan are the Boston-based founders of Navya, which has managed TMC’s online opinions as a partner of TMC for over ten years.
Dr Ramarajan contacted Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization with a global distribution infrastructure, to help with the shipment. In response to Direct Relief’s request, FedEx sponsored a 777 charter flight, the largest aircraft in its cargo fleet. Since the flight has a capacity of 81,000 kgs, New-York-based Northwell Health donated 300,000 masks to be flown to India; and Gitika reached out to Massachusetts philanthropist Desh Desphande to help raise funds for 1,000 more concentrators.
TMC Navya negotiated the purchase of these additional lightweight units at a bulk discount.
On Saturday, the group initiated the Together for India campaign to raise funds to purchase lightweight concentrators, portable for use across India.
As the FedEx cargo flight is being unloaded in Mumbai, and Air India in Delhi, the TMC team is submitting the paperwork to clear customs and get things in place for the onward transport of the 3,800 oxygen concentrators that have just arrived. An additional 1,500 oxygen concentrators are planned to be delivered next week with FedEx and Air India.
In June 2020, TMC partnered with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra government and helped set up an ad-hoc, 518 bed and 10 ICU bed COVID-19 facility at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai. As soon as the second wave hit, TMC’s team of experts drew on this experience to identify lightweight, portable, high-flow oxygen concentrators that would have the maximum impact in saving lives, especially in hospitals that don’t have oxygen pipelines.
Dr. Chaturvedi , who was looking after the NSCI centre, explains that the second wave of the pandemic seems to be related to a new variant that is affecting the lungs of young people, leading to a sharp rise in death among that population. One of the important factors leading to mortality is the lack of ICU beds, lifesaving drugs, and oxygen.
Portable oxygen concentrators help decongest ICUs and oxygen beds for truly needy patients by offering home support for patients with mild illness, allowing recovering patients to continue care at home, and supporting patients that are waiting hours or days for a hospital bed.
Cancer care continues despite pandemic
The company says all seven TMC centres across India—Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Sangrur, Varanasi, Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam and Muzaffarpur—have continued cancer care throughout the pandemic. Together, they have managed to treat over 80,000 patients with cancer in spite of a raging pandemic. In addition, over 2,000 patients with cancer and COVID-19 have been treated for COVID in the various TMC centres.