In India, a Dynamic Response to COVID-19When COVID-19 spiked in India this spring, the Army turned to the number of hospitals and clinics it operates across the subcontinent to support government aid and education efforts.
When the COVID-19 pandemic spiked in India this spring, The Salvation Army turned to the number of hospitals and clinics it operates across the subcontinent to support government aid and education efforts. Salvation Army personnel also engaged in widespread education and outreach, offering supplies and guidance in communities across its six India territories. With the number of reported cases climbing above 27 million in May and the death toll at over 300,000, the Army admitted patients as demand exceeded the capacity of the national healthcare system. The Army’s International Headquarters COVID-19 Taskforce supported the efforts, with General Brian Peddle writing to India Salvationists that “Our hearts are moved, and I write…assuring you of our prayers and practical support…I am proud of the work being done at our hospitals and am hearing stories from your leaders of courage and great faith.”
The Army’s Evangeline Booth Hospital (EBH) in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra state was one of few non-government run facilities caring for coronavirus patients since March. Administrator Major Devdan Kalkumbe says, “EBH is giving 100 percent free treatment to COVID-19 patients.” The local government provided extra oxygen, and International Headquarters provided additional ventilators and personal protective equipment. The Army’s Emery Hospital in Gujarat state provided 50 beds for COVID patients. The Indian Government asked the Catherine Booth Hospital in Nagercoil, at the southernmost tip of India, to accept up to 40 COVID patients.
Although specializing in ophthalmic care, MacRobert Hospital in Dhariwal, Punjab, prepared a 50-plus bed capacity for COVID patients to reduce pressure on nearby government facilities. Groups of 10 nurses from its nurse training program conducted PCR testing and other health checks in the rural community. Salvation Army clinicians supported the government in its roll-out of the local COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Trained staff ran a new ambulance service associated with the Army’s Evangeline Booth Hospital in Andhra Pradesh to support public health initiatives.
The Army has a deep history of service in India. For example, recognizing the many obstacles low-income women and their families face in a population of 1.2 billion, it makes a difference in the lives of such women as represented here.
To support ongoing relief efforts, visit give.sawso.org.