The Indian Air Force airlifted 6.2 tonnes of essential medicines and hospital consumables on Wednesday on an IAF C-130 aircraft from India to Male, Maldives through Operation Sanjeevani.
The medicines and consumables, which were procured from eight different suppliers in India, could not be transported through normal means due to the three-week countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.
At the request of the Government of Maldives, the IAF aircraft activated Operation Sanjeevani and lifted medicines from airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai before flying to Male. The Indian Army facilitated the transport of these medicines and consumables from warehouses across India to the respective airports.
Among other things, these medicines include influenza vaccines, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir (which have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in other countries), medicines for cardiac conditions, kidney ailments, hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, allergies and cancer treatment, anticonvulsants, as well as consumables such as catheters, nebulisers, urine bags and infant feeding tubes.
Bilateral cooperation in the health sector between India and the Maldives has been a cornerstone of its partnership for decades. India had gifted 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines to the Maldives on March 14, 2020. India had also sent a 14-member COVID-19 Rapid Response Team of doctors and specialists enhance preparedness. The team worked closely with health authorities in Male and outlying islands.
“This airlift strengthens the spirit of cooperation between our two Governments based on India’s Neighbourhood First Policy and Maldives’ India First Policy. It also conveys the enduring good wishes and prayers of the people of India to the people of Maldives,” said the Indian High Commission.
The Maldives is the first country in India’s neighborhood to have received essential medicines since the lockdown commenced in India.
The airlift of essential medicines signals India’s commitment to keeping supplies of essential medicines open even in the most challenging times as the South Asian region combats the COVID-19 pandemic.