An India In Despair Is Calling Out for Help

Nigambodh Ghat crematorium, on the banks of the Yamuna river coast in New Delhi, is cremating a ton of COVID-19 victims. Amal KS/Hindustan Times/Shutterstock

The images and clips coming from India are staggering. In one way, it is kind of selfish to complain about lockdown measures here in North America, when we take a look at what is going on elsewhere on the globe, where cases keep going up.

The situation is getting out of control in hospitals where resources such as oxygen supplies are running out. This leaves no chance to people who are suffering the most from the disease.

For the past few days, India has been reporting more than 300,000 cases every day. Over 3,000 Indians are dying daily. Let’s not be on the wrong side of history. Let’s intervene before it’s too late. The next few weeks don’t look more promising: only 2% of Indians have been vaccinated at this moment.

Citizens are struggling. On top of that, they aren’t getting any help from the top public officials, like it is the case in Brazil with Jair Bolsonaro handling the crisis in a pitiful manner.

India’s Prime Minister also has his fair share of the fault for the circumstances. He permitted big events and rallies around the country, which helped propagate the virus all around.

This situation is unlike what we have seen so far and communities around the globe must come together to help the Indian people in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases there.

It is common to see this scene in India these days. Outside a Sikh house of worship, in South Delhi. Atul Loke

Bold solutions are needed and fast. Big companies and powerful countries have said that they will do all their possible to pitch in and help the South Asia country. Many are offering medical equipment, ventilators or oxygen supplies. That won’t help if vaccines aren’t being delivered quickly.

As for example, this week, the Trudeau government in Canada has offered to donate $10 million to the Indian Red Cross as well as providing medical supplies. At the same time, Canada suspended flights from India because of the variants transmitting more easily human to human.

Great Britain is dispatching lots of medical equipment to help the best way it can. More precisely, 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators were sent to the country this week.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it transferred more than 2,600 of its experts to work on the field with health authorities to help prevent deaths.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation Director-General, is trying to manage the COVID-19 situation in India the best way possible. Reuters

Lots of other organizations and states have decided to pitch in for this fight of a lifetime.

Some countries believe that it shouldn’t be the role of the most wealthy countries to help India and offer their reserved doses of vaccines based on the fact that this is an international crisis.

Wrong. This is a pandemic and not an epidemic like, it was the case for Ebola during the worst outbreak in 2014.

Joe Biden is unequivocal: the US must help Indian people during this 2nd wave outbreak. Twitter
The President of the European Commission joins her voice to tackle the urgent situation in India. Twitter

The problem here is that to get over this global nightmare, countries are going to have to work together and help where it is the gravest. If we eliminate the virus in some countries, it won’t do much. The whole world needs to get vaccinated at a fast pace in order to stop the transmission of variants.

It is a matter of time before the current approved vaccines can’t combat the variants and protect citizens. The consequence of this, may be, that we will need boosters in the future.

But the quicker we are in helping the countries that need vaccines, the sooner we can put this pandemic behind us. Investments in research and science need to keep flowing, as well as investments in collaborative projects for vaccine accessibility.

Some countries can rely on specific societal advancement in order to implement health measures, like social distancing or working from home, that can save the most vulnerable citizens. Canada is one of those countries where the systems are in place to allow many workers to stay at home.

Innovative program: COVAX

Led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVAX is taking the COVID-19 fight head on.

Their work is crucial to save lives urgently. The program offers doses for at least 20% of countries’ populations. If we continue on this road to vaccinate only wealthy nation populations, we won’t be out of the woods in the near future. The most vulnerable and essential workers should be vaccinated as a priority. Equitable access to vaccines is key right now.

As a political staffer in my twenties, I should be one of the last vaccinated, not that I don’t want to, on the contrary. Others need their jabs before me, I am able to work from home and isolate.

As of April 27, the partnership has been able to ship more than 48 million doses of vaccines to those in most need.

COVAX is good, but to help countries like India, the wealthiest must step up their donations and invest in international aid.

The program is part of the solution, it isn’t the only thing that needs to be done.

Graduated with a masters degree in politics from the University of Quebec in Montreal. Human rights, LGBT issues, sports and music. Twitter: @OlivierPilon

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