10 May, 2021

Published: 10 May 2021. Information is accurate at the time of posting.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is preparing to airlift critical medical supplies and several oxygen generation systems to ease India’s COVID-19 health crisis. ADRA is partnering with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, including its Health Ministries Department, and Adventist Health International (AHI), to expand relief operations in India.

With the death toll surging past 226,000* and more than 382,000* new COVID-19 cases (*numbers subject to change daily) reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the country’s health care system is unable to keep up with the surge of new cases. Hospitals are reporting severe shortages of oxygen supplies, beds, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers. Medical staff are reporting growing numbers of people dying at hospitals and health facilities while waiting for oxygen and intensive care beds.

ADRA collaborates with local health authorities to support a mass COVID-19 testing in the tea gardens of Assam, India (Photo courtesy: ADRA in India)

“Our ADRA team in India has been on the ground responding to this growing crisis, but we need more support to respond more effectively,” says Michael Kruger, ADRA’s president. “This additional support from the Adventist Church, the General Conference Health Ministries, and Adventist Health International comes at a crucial time, and we really value this rapid support. By working together, this partnership will help us garner vital aid relief in India to serve local hospitals in dire need of oxygen generation plants and essential medical supplies. This collaboration helps ensure frontline workers are equipped to serve communities ravaged by this monumental health emergency.”

A Kashmiri woman suffering from a breathing difficulty due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), receives oxygen at a COVID-19 Centre in Sopore, District Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, India on 29 April 2021. (Photo by Nasir Kachroo/NurPhoto via AP)

A COVID-19 patient on a wheelchair goes for a medical test inside a government hospital in Kolkata, India, 27 April, 2021. (Photo by Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via AP)

The relief effort will help ADRA expand its relief operations to Adventist hospitals in India to build medical capabilities and improve critical COVID-19 patient care services. The humanitarian operation will also enhance the oxygen production at medical facilities by installing oxygen generation plants (OGPs) and delivering oxygen concentrators to produce a constant supply of oxygen-rich gas for treating COVID-19 patients.

“Supporting our global community is part of our mission as a healthcare institution,” says Dr. Richard Hart, president of Adventist Health International and Loma Linda University Health. “It was a necessary pivot to support India through our sister organization, ADRA, in the way the country desperately needs. We are prepared to continue these efforts and stand with our partners as we fight COVID-19, together.” 

Additionally, ADRA is transporting intensive care unit (ICU) beds, ventilators, and monitors, and mobilizing essential preventive gear for frontline health care workers, including PPEs such as N95 masks, face shields, surgical gowns, nitrile gloves, goggles, disposable bed sheets and caps, and hand sanitizers.

“As followers of Christ, we must respond whenever people are hurting,” says Dr. Peter Landless, director for health ministries of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “This is the reason we are joining forces to deliver critically needed resources to help some of the worst affected areas in India. We pray that this assistance will not only bring healing to so many people in need but also contribute to shifting the momentum in the fight against COVID-19 in India.”

ADRA is also working with local health clinics to increase vaccine access and reduce COVID-19 hesitancy to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. The team on the ground is teaming up with government and doctors’ organisations to provide additional medical staff, doctors, nurses, and data entry operators at COVID-19 vaccination centers in various locations in India.

To learn more about ADRA’s response or make donations to assist with COVID-19 relief efforts, visit adra.org.au/disasters.