The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is preparing to airlift critical medical supplies and several oxygen generation systems to ease India’s coronavirus health crisis.
The humanitarian agency is partnering with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, including the Adventist Health Ministries department and Adventist Health International (AHI), to expand relief operations in the South Asian nation.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church must assist in helping people overcome the health and humanitarian tragedy that is unfolding in India,” Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said. “As Christians, we are reminded in Galatians 6:2 to carry each other’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ, and we do this in Christ’s love and power. It is our duty and responsibility to help each other, to care for the sick, and to bring healing and encouragement as Jesus did in His ministry and do all this as we lean on the mighty arm of God.
“Today, we must come together in solidarity and pray for the people of India, to stand with those who are hurting and with those who are mourning the loss of loved ones. We must also remember our tenacious ADRA workers who are in the frontlines delivering help in often challenging circumstances. We stand with you, through the power of God, during this difficult time. Be of good courage. God is by your side as you bring hope to those in great need,” Wilson added.
With the cumulative death toll surging past 246,000 on May 9, and more than 360,000 new COVID-19 cases reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) on that day alone, 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.
“Our ADRA team in India has been on the ground responding to this growing crisis, but we need more support to respond more effectively,” Michael Kruger, ADRA president, said. “This additional support from the Adventist Church, the Adventist 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.”
The relief effort will help ADRA expand its relief operations to Adventist hospitals in India to build medical capabilities and improve critical coronavirus patient-care services. The humanitarian operation will also enhance the oxygen production at medical facilities by installing oxygen generation plants 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 health-care institution,” Richard Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health and Adventist Health International, said. “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. This is the reason we are joining forces to deliver critically needed resources to help some of the worst affected areas in India,” Peter Landless, director of health ministries for the Adventist Church, said. “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’ organizations to provide additional medical staff, doctors, nurses, and data entry operators at COVID-19 vaccination centers in various locations in India. The Adventist Church has issued an official statement encouraging the community to participate in protective and preventive vaccination programs against COVID-19.
In addition to COVID-19 relief efforts for India, ADRA’s partnership with the Adventist Church and AHI will help Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. The humanitarian assistance will provide funding to strengthen Adventist hospitals in significantly affected communities in Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, and Belem. According to WHO officials, as of May 10, Brazil has reported more than 15 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 400,000 deaths since November 2020.