PHOENIX — A group of Valley volunteers are doing what they can to help the COVID-19 crisis in India.
COVID-related deaths continue to break record highs and the crisis is far from over, especially in rural areas with fewer resources and medical supplies. Millions have been infected and tens of thousands have died since mid-March.
"Thousands of people in Arizona are of Indian origin, and they've been affected greatly. Most of us have family members that are sick from COVID, many of us have family members that have passed away from COVID in India, so it become very much a personal thing as well," said Dr. Chintan Mehta, an internist at HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix.
Dr. Mehta is a member of Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care or SRLC. The Phoenix chapter of the global nonprofit has been busy collecting and sending medical supplies.
"We are searching for oxygen concentrators, we have already sent oxygen concentrators, CPAP machines, BiPAP machines as well as ventilators to India," he said.
SRLC opened at 50-bed COVID critical care unit in a rural area of south Gujarat.
"This unit takes care of the sickest of the sick in India," said Dr. Mehta.
This month, they opened a 150 to 200-bed unit for mild cases as well.
"Patients that have mild disease that need to be quarantined and be put away from family members or need oxygen support and that type of treatment," said Dr. Mehta.
Dr. Mehta said most of what they're doing right now is to address the immediate need, but they're also focusing on the long-term.
He said that means doing outreach to educate the people not just on COVID-19 but also on the importance of getting vaccinated.