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Extending a Helping Hand

Mansi Sunil (name changed), a 29-year old pregnant woman from Bengaluru urgently needed a ventilator bed as the hospital did not have an ICU or a ventilator facility. The request was sent to NCW’s helpline for expecting mothers at midnight by a volunteer group. The team working at night immediately took up the case and actively worked on it as the patient was highly critical and there was no time to waste. Every authority from the District Health Officer to the Police Commissioner was contacted for arranging the ventilator. Even the highest of our officials were involved. The team also contacted the Health Minister’s office for help. Finally, after a night-long battle, a ventilator was arranged for the patient and she was shifted to an ICU.

In the past month, the National Commission for Women came across several stories of pregnant women who were struggling to reach hospitals and the plight of their relatives running from pillar-to-post to arrange for medical aid.

NCW Chairperson, Rekha Sharma says, “With the pandemic raging, NCW wanted to answer a question, how can pregnant women be assisted in these hard times and how can the Commission play a positive role in the process? This is when we decided to launch a helpline exclusively for assisting pregnant women during emergencies. Ever since the launch of the helpline on April 29, Team NCW has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight with the team members working round-the-clock helping patients with the arrangement of tests, treatments, oxygen support, hospitalization, and teleconsultation services.”

“A helpline that was founded as a rapid response to an increasing emergency today hosts a network of people who are working like a well-oiled machine ready round-the-clock to attend to every request. We are a group of 40 people who are working together to manage different requests received on the helpline including arranging oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, plasma, and delivering medicines to the patients. Till today, the helpline has saved 648 such Mansis and their babies,” she adds.

Through the #HappyToHelp campaign they asked the people to send the requests of pregnant women who are finding it difficult to arrange for medical aid on their own. Over the past few weeks of launching this helpline, they have been witnessing how people all across the country have come together to help and support pregnant women in overcoming the huge crisis posed by this pandemic. It goes without saying that a huge role has been played by the volunteer groups in connecting them with the women in need.

Although the initiative might appear to be a drop in the ocean considering the enormity of the situation nationally and also globally, but to every single individual and their family receiving their support, it means the world to them. Therefore, the ocean would be a little lesser without that single drop and it is all the difference that their team is striving to make.

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