Is the US Doing Enough to Help India Fight Covid?

May 14 21:21 2021 Print This Article

The assistance of the United States to help fight the Covid scourge in India has been substantial.

In one week alone, six shipments through the air bearing essential medical have arrived in India from the United States. India is waging a war against the second wave of Covid 19, and it needs all the help it can get, especially from its allies.

And the United States government is one such ally that is pledging US$100 million for such a campaign.

The essentials in this flights include 2.5 million N95 masks, 550 oxygen concentrators and rapid diagnostic tests and medicines.

President Joe Biden have himself declared that the whole US government, including the Embassy and the consulates, are doing everything they can to help India.

Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been in the middle of dialogues four times already in the first 100 days of the Biden presidency. It is but obvious that the top of their agenda is how to prevent Covid 19 from doing further damage to India.

The American President added that the pandemic will not be over for anyone until it is over for everyone, including India.

Every sector is doing its share to help India

There has been an outpouring of personal and institutional charity, not only from the US government. Americans from all backgrounds have dropped their share of the India crisis since last month. They range from the private sector, from civil society and also from community-based institutions. These include Indian-Americans who have unselfishly contributed much-needed resources and supplies to be able to reach the Indians who have the least access to such pandemic needs.

Us partners in India are helping too

The US has already taken action through mobilizing partners that are already in India. They have expanded existing health programs which are already in place.

One such scenario was when hospitals across India ran out of oxygen and other supplies. There was a formal request from the Indian government and within days, USAID, one of the partners, rapidly released funding to buy a thousand oxygen concentrators.

These items, which could save many Indian lives, are good for effective use for at least 5 years and will be available for use in primary health care facilities.

For self sufficiency, USAID is also helping the Indian government build 150 Pressure Swing Adsorption oxygen generating plants. This equates also to 150 healthcare facilities to produce their own oxygen rather than depend on outside supply of such a vital emergency health requirement.

TV news and social media feeds have shown how desperate poor Indians as a whole are in accessing such a basic need such as oxygen. Foremost in the assistance of USAID is the training and the education of local Indian medical staff in the continuing production and supply of oxygen.

Also with the coordination of USAID, the supply of a large scale Oxygen Concentration System was made possible. It provides 20 or more patients simultaneously with oxygen. USAID also facilitated in the shipment of 210 pulse oximeters which measure oxygen levels in the patients’ blood.

The other emergency supplies that were facilitated by USAID in transporting to India are 20,000 remdesivir courses (equating to 125,000 vials) which treat critically sick patients, 1,500 oxygen cylinders to augment the oxygen shortage (and could be refilled in local supply centers), and rapid diagnostic tests numbering 1 million which can identify quickly Covid patients and thus prevent the spread of the virus.

Indian diaspora helping out

There is also widespread contributions from both American and Indian companies, and also from Indians who are working or have migrated in other parts of the world, not only the USA.

Indian Americans have raised funds of millions of dollars to send life-saving medical equipment and medicine to their mother country. Sewa International, which is a Hindu faith-based, US-based, humanitarian and non-profit organization, has also raised $10 million worth of funds. AAPI or the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin have collected $3.5 million, and Indiaspora has amassed $2 million to help. They are just but a few of the countless organizations that are US-based that have helped tremendously.

The US vice president’s take on the issue

For her part, US Vice President Kamala Harris had emphasized that at the beginning of the epidemic when the hospital beds in the US were stretched to the limit, India was one of the helpful countries to send assistance. Now, she exclaimed that it’s time to give back to our South Asian friends. She said this during the State Department’s Diaspora outreach activity for the Covid Relief efforts for India.

Harris also lauded the contributions of Indian Americans for the relief efforts. She herself has South Asian roots as well as black Jamaican heritage. She thanked the migratory groups, Indiaspora and the American India Foundation who have built links between the USA and India.

Harris would like to remind people that she is proud to be of Indian lineage from her mother who was born and raised in India.

What more could the US do to help?

One thing that the US could also do as a world leader is to encourage the temporary waiving of patents when it comes to public health emergencies. Perhaps also the assistance in the research and supply for other existing antidotes to the Covid 19 virus too. It should support both India and South Africa as they formally proposed to the World Trade Organization or WTO that intellectual property provisions for Covid 19 vaccines be waived for India and other countries. This is to enable them to mass produce their own vaccines for their vast population.

It is all up to President Joe Biden on how he will react to an open letter from large pharmaceutical companies who are stalwarts in Covid 19 vaccine production, to reject the Indian and South African proposal.

President Joe Biden will be choosing between lives and the pharmaceutical companies. Let’s do hope that that laudable contributions of America to the India Covid 19 relief efforts will not be in vain.

Vice President Kamala Harris, being of Indian descent, should also bring all her political skills to the table to be able to influence President Biden, Congress and the general American public in productive ways to help the cause of the land of her mother and all other countries who are reeling from Covid 19.

view more articles

About Article Author

Writer Team
Writer Team

View More Articles