For 26-year-old Haani Abdul Qayoom, an environmental health scientist who had to stay back in Chennai after her flight to Dubai was cancelled, it was a blessing in disguise to gather her resources and help COVID-19 patients in need of oxygen and hospital beds. That’s when she started the campaign ‘O2 for Madras.’
“When I saw what was happening around, I wanted to quickly find a way to provide them with oxygen cylinders and concentrators first. So, we formed volunteer groups to help the patients,” she said.
One group took calls from patients or their family and would then direct them to a group of doctors. “Sometimes, the caller didn’t know if the patient needed oxygen support alone or hospitalisation. So we would get their details, speak to doctors and support them with cylinders, concentrators or hospital beds. Another group of volunteers would then deliver the cylinders or concentrators. Initially, it was very difficult to get beds and after a few days, we at least knew who to reach out to in each hospital to know the bed availability,” she said.
The volunteers have so far helped over 500 people in the last one month, she said. As the cases have reduced, the number of calls too have come down drastically, she said.
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