In the past eight days, the Aam Aadmi Party Mumbai team has helped 2000+ patients who have had a COVID emergency. It may not seem like a very large number in the sea of this Pandemic, but in a resource-starved city, we are proud and relieved of every single life we could help save.
When, in the first two weeks of April, AAP Mumbai leaders, like Preeti Sharma Menon and Ruben Mascarenhas, were overwhelmed with the calls for help; AAP Mumbai Task Force Members Mithila Naik Satam, Kunal Pawar, and Manu Pillai conceptualized and launched the #AAPDegaSaath Helpline 7718812200, on 15th April 2021.
AAP leaders and volunteers take calls of citizens who seek hospital admission, move to an ICU, oxygen, medicines, and/or plasma. They then liaise with the authorities, hospitals, doctors, and suppliers on behalf of the patient, and resolve the issues.
In these past 8 days, they have received 700 calls daily on average, and they have managed to resolve approximately 300 cases daily. Led by Ruben Mascarenhas, the team includes so many more – youngsters like Manu Pillai, Mithila Naik Satam, Pravin Lotankar, Kunal Pawar, Ratnabh Mukerjei and senior leaders like Sumitra Srivastava and Dwijendra Tiwari who are working night and day.
“It is indeed sad that we cannot resolve all cases, because there is an acute shortage of all things, starting from O2 beds. Yesterday, the scene was so tragic that hospitals were hesitant to admit very serious patients, whose oxygen requirement was high, as they just didn’t have enough oxygen,” said Preeti Sharma Menon.
The volunteers are going through stress, heartache and even breakdowns, when they are unable to save a life, so much so that they are now starting counselling for them to deal with this trauma.
“Yet, the need to help people in this biggest crisis that has hit our beloved Mumbai, bigger even than terror attacks push us to do more and more.
We are sharing our story in the hope that more people choose to help out, and more people know there are many fellows’ beings that care.” said an AAP member who is volunteered to help COVID-19 patients.
“We are so relieved that, today, many NGOs like We the People Foundation, Switch India, and activists have joined us in this work, as well as many media persons. This not just extends the volunteer pool, but has also enabled us to set up a team of Doctors, under Dr Santosh Karmarkar, and young doctors with Switch India, who are calling and counselling every patient and their kin. When the administration is crumbling under the weight of policies, we, the citizens, are stepping up. Together we can!”, said AAP team member.