Covid Relief: NGO Imports Over 400 Oxygen Concentrators from UK to Hyderabad

by Abbas Adil

At a time when several states in India are grappling with shortage of medical grade Oxygen to treat Covid patients, Sahayata Trust, the Indian wing of Indian Muslim Relief & Charities (IMRC), USA, different charities and social welfare organizations in a meticulously collaborated across geographical borders to help import nearly 400 high quality oxygen concentrators in India.

On Sunday, Sahayata Trust formally commenced the distribution of nearly 400 high quality oxygen concentrators and Covid-relief apparatus including pulse oximeters, and ventilators – barely 24 hours after the first consignment of 170 arrived in Hyderabad. This is the world’s largest donation of Oxygen Concentrators to any Indian NGO, said Syed Aneesuddin, CEO of Sahayata Trust. Since international flights are grounded between two countries due to the pandemic, the consignment arrived on a special flight of Qatar Airways on Friday (May 22).

The arrival of these oxygen concentrators in India is facilitated by Sahayata Trust in collaboration with UK-based charities including Maahir Charity (UK), Deccan Medical College Alumni Association (UK) and Medical Aid (UK) in coordination with IMRC, USA, the parent body of Sahayata Trust. These charities are mostly managed by Indian diaspora in the region.

The concentrators will be distributed by Sahayata Trust to different healthcare organizations in Telangana and other states. According to Aneesuddin, “the relief effort will add oxygen to the efforts of NGOs scrambling to procure oxygen to save as many lives they can.” There are nearly 22 different organizations including Access Foundation, Safa Baitul Maal, SDIF among others on the list of recipients.

Even before the formal distribution began, volunteers were seen interacting with representatives of different NGOs, and discussing the requirement to allocation ratio. Speaking to Clarion India, Aneesuddin said “the devices will be allocated on a per-need basis to different NGOs across Hyderabad, Lucknow, Allahabad, Delhi, Ranchi, Bhopal and other cities.”

Aneesuddin thanked Hyderabad Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi who played an important role in helping consignment reach India within a short span of time. Usually, the process takes a few days, but thanks to the fast-track approvals by the government, it happened without wasting time.

He also thanked the State and Central government for waiving the import duty on the equipment. He particularly expressed gratitude to Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar for taking up the matter on urgent basis and Commissioner Commercial Taxes Neetu Prasad who went out of the way working late night to grant ‘real-time approval’, one of the fastest in recent history. Due to her personal interest in expediting the process, the consignment was ready for pickup within three hours after arrival.

Noted development economist Prof Amirullah Khan, who is the coordinator for NGO network of Sahayata Trust said “this is the world’s largest donation [of Oxygen concentrators] to any NGO from a different country.” “These are high quality oxygen concentrators with dual outflow of Oxygen enabling two patients to use the same machine at a time. We are training people to use the device using the device manuals received from England. This is a daunting task to coordinate the allocation as well as train and equip the personnel to handle the device in a very short time, especially since every passing minute increases danger of loss of life for people struggling to find oxygen support.”

Statistically, the demand supply gap is huge. India needs about one lakh oxygen concentrators. “The government has been able to import 10,000 from the USA. In such savage times, the import of 400 units is a small but significant effort in saving more lives”, said Prof. Amirullah Khan, a former civil servant.

Telangana State Waqf Board Chairman Mohammed Saleem flagged off the formal distribution of relief equipment at Sahayata Trust premises in ‘Mannat’, on Saidabad Cross Roads in Hyderabad, in the presence of Sahayata Trust CEO Syed Aneesuddin and Prof Amirullah Khan. Trustee Sahayata Trust Shahid Ghori and representatives of different organizations were also present on this occasion.

As of this writing, Telangana officially reported 5.51 lakh total cases of which 5.05 lakh are recoveries. With tighter restrictions prevailing amid a 20-hour lockdown in the State, several NGOs like Sahayata Trust, Helping Hand Foundation, Safa Baitul Maal, SDIF, Access Foundation, Al Hamd Foundation among others continue to be a beacon of hope for those fighting or recovering from the second wave of Covid-19.

The second consignment of 230 concentrators is scheduled to arrive in the country next week, said officials at the trust.

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