Enduring relationships – BBF Responds to COVID-19 in Nepal and India

In Blog, Newsletters by Brother's Brother Foundation

Article by Ozzy Samad

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It was the 17th of March 2017, when BBF’s former president Luke Hingson and I attended an event at the University of Pittsburgh, titled “Global Earthquakes: Response, Recovery, and Resilience.” After watching a captivating presentation on the response to a devastating earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 by two first responders from the country, we said hello to the facilitator, Dr. James Joshi, program director and professor in the School of Computing Education.

Dr. Joshi is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal and had been a key point person in BBF’s response to the Earthquake there is 2015. Our work was in collaboration with Mission Rebuild Nepal and included rebuilding homes that had been devastated by the disaster. As we researched how best to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in India, I saw an email from James outlining the dire situation in Nepal due to the pandemic and asking if there was any way BBF could be of assistance.

The email led to follow up Zoom calls with Dr. Madan Uprety, President of Mission Rebuild Nepal, Dr. Arun Kunwar, Director of a hospital in Kathmandu, and James, along with Liam Carstens, VP of Programs at BBF and myself. We urgently discussed the options and were soon presented with a proposal to provide oxygen concentrators and build oxygen plants to assist those affected by COVID-19. As there are critical shortages of oxygen supplies in medical facilities, BBF is partnering with Mission Rebuild Nepal to specifically support an oxygen concentrator bank in the country to provide immediate relief to those most in need.

The widely publicized COVID-19 crisis in India has led to extensive suffering in communities across the country and a corresponding loss of life. As BBF evaluated its response, it became clear that there were a number of logistical and regulatory issues that had to be addressed to successfully send relief supplies and equipment to be of assistance to those in need.

I had met Sunil Wadhwani, a Pittsburgh business luminary and Managing Partner of Swat Capital, who was born in Mumbai, India, at various functions over the years. He is also the co-founder and former CEO of Mastech, Inc. and IGATE. Sunil set up the Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare or WISH Foundation, with a focus on improving the quality of and accessibility to primary healthcare for underserved populations in developing countries. WISH currently manages over 200 Health Centers in India, and his gracious collaboration allowed BBF to partner with an organization which has the relationships, reach, and understanding of the local landscape. The strategy employed includes supplyinglife-saving medical equipment, setting up and scaling COVID-Care Centers (CCC), building oxygen plants, establishing COVID Care step-down models within hospitals and other facilities, conducting vaccinating drives, and ensuring that teleconsultation and mental health services are available to patients and families.

Thank you for all your support in allowing BBF to effectively work with our partners, as we have always done and will continue to do, to help those in such dire circumstances.

Archives

Article by Ozzy Samad

Image
It was the 17th of March 2017, when BBF’s former president Luke Hingson and I attended an event at the University of Pittsburgh, titled “Global Earthquakes: Response, Recovery, and Resilience.” After watching a captivating presentation on the response to a devastating earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 by two first responders from the country, we said hello to the facilitator, Dr. James Joshi, program director and professor in the School of Computing Education.

Dr. Joshi is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal and had been a key point person in BBF’s response to the Earthquake there is 2015. Our work was in collaboration with Mission Rebuild Nepal and included rebuilding homes that had been devastated by the disaster. As we researched how best to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in India, I saw an email from James outlining the dire situation in Nepal due to the pandemic and asking if there was any way BBF could be of assistance.

The email led to follow up Zoom calls with Dr. Madan Uprety, President of Mission Rebuild Nepal, Dr. Arun Kunwar, Director of a hospital in Kathmandu, and James, along with Liam Carstens, VP of Programs at BBF and myself. We urgently discussed the options and were soon presented with a proposal to provide oxygen concentrators and build oxygen plants to assist those affected by COVID-19. As there are critical shortages of oxygen supplies in medical facilities, BBF is partnering with Mission Rebuild Nepal to specifically support an oxygen concentrator bank in the country to provide immediate relief to those most in need.

The widely publicized COVID-19 crisis in India has led to extensive suffering in communities across the country and a corresponding loss of life. As BBF evaluated its response, it became clear that there were a number of logistical and regulatory issues that had to be addressed to successfully send relief supplies and equipment to be of assistance to those in need.

I had met Sunil Wadhwani, a Pittsburgh business luminary and Managing Partner of Swat Capital, who was born in Mumbai, India, at various functions over the years. He is also the co-founder and former CEO of Mastech, Inc. and IGATE. Sunil set up the Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare or WISH Foundation, with a focus on improving the quality of and accessibility to primary healthcare for underserved populations in developing countries. WISH currently manages over 200 Health Centers in India, and his gracious collaboration allowed BBF to partner with an organization which has the relationships, reach, and understanding of the local landscape. The strategy employed includes supplyinglife-saving medical equipment, setting up and scaling COVID-Care Centers (CCC), building oxygen plants, establishing COVID Care step-down models within hospitals and other facilities, conducting vaccinating drives, and ensuring that teleconsultation and mental health services are available to patients and families.

Thank you for all your support in allowing BBF to effectively work with our partners, as we have always done and will continue to do, to help those in such dire circumstances.

Archives