Tech giant Google has announced an aid of ₹113 crore to set up oxygen plants and train (Accredited Social Health Activists) ASHA workers to strengthen healthcare infrastructure in rural India. Under this effort, the philanthropic arm of the company will provide grants to two NGOs- GiveIndia and PATH.
The grant comes in addition to the ₹135 crore announced to India in April to help the country to support the relief work during the devastating second wave of the pandemic.
"Our hearts go out to those in India impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and we continue to look for ways to help." tweeted Google CEO Sundar Pichai. In the tweet, he shared a blog post written by Sanjay Gupta, country head and vice president for Google India, in which he announced the aid to India.
"Today, as India slowly emerges from the crisis of the past few months, we are turning our focus to helping strengthen India's healthcare infrastructure and workforce — especially in rural areas," Sanjay Gupta wrote in the blog.
It further detailed the various organisations Google will be working with and the role they will take in Google's rural healthcare development plan.
NGOs And Their Role
Financial aid to the tune of ₹109 crore ($15 Million) will be given to GiveIndia and PATH. Both the organisations will manage the oxygen program, under which 80 oxygen plants will be installed in high-need and rural areas. They will also extend adequate project management support.
Google will give ₹3.6 crore ($500,000) to ARMMAN, a non-profit organistaion, that will run upskilling programs for Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs). Under the initiative, 1,80,000 ASHA workers and 40,000 ANMs will be trained in 15 states.
Google will also invest in Apollo Medskills to help them provide specialised training in COVID management to 20,000 frontline workers.
Third Wave And Rural India
India witnessed a catastrophic surge in COVID cases in April and May, which overwhelmed the country's healthcare system leading to shortages of oxygen and other necessary equipment. To contain the spread of the virus, various states in the country had to impose restrictions and lockdowns.
The cases have been declining in the last few weeks. Experts, however, warn about the possibility of a third wave in India. In this regard, Google's help becomes vital as the next wave of coronavirus could severely impact the rural areas owing to the lack of health care infrastructure in those parts of the country.