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India’s Second COVID-19 Wave: CARE’s Emergency Response in Photos

A health care worker in PPE holds a syringe.

Photo: Srinivas Panicker/CARE

Photo: Srinivas Panicker/CARE

As a new coronavirus variant challenges India’s healthcare system and exacerbates inequalities, CARE is working to set up health centers for the most vulnerable.

India is experiencing a devastating second wave of COVID-19 with over 27 million positive COVID-19 cases, and more than 305,000 deaths.

Experts predict this wave — which has left the healthcare system severely compromised and further exacerbated inequalities — will last until July, and that the country will see its third wave in an additional six months.

CARE India CEO Manoj Gopalakrishna says the second wave of the virus is “came as a bolt from the blue, and caught all the health systems underprepared and off-guard, raging through India with multiple genomic strains and devastating impact with increasing caseloads and fatalities.”


27 million positive COVID-19 cases have been detected in India

As a new coronavirus variant has challenged the country’s healthcare system, those infected with the virus have struggled to access healthcare including medicine, oxygen, and hospital beds. As the demand has spiked, so have prices for supplies such as oxygen cylinders and medicine, leaving people in desperate situations and many without care.

To tackle this, Manoj says that CARE India is working with the government to ensure support where it is needed most. CARE India’s response to the current COVID-19 crisis includes capacity building of health systems to address future surges; supporting access to and rollout of the country’s vaccination program; and community-based models to build resilience and ease the strain on hospitals.

CARE India and CARE USA have operated a decade-long health program in one of India’s high-burden states, Bihar, providing technical support to the state government to strengthen the health system. CARE India has set up a 100-person high-capacity makeshift COVID Health Center with the Bihar government to provide treatment for those with mild to moderate cases of the virus. A 255-bed dedicated makeshift COVID Health Center has also started operation in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

“COVID-19 is raging through India with devastating impact.”

CARE India is receiving requests for support from other states, including Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Maharashtra. In addition to COVID Health Centers, CARE India is providing necessary assistance to the government-led vaccination program to prevent sharp rises in infection rates.

Over the last year, CARE India has supported 920,000 people with immediate COVID-19 relief such as food and health services, prioritizing women, children, and other marginalized groups such as people living with HIV.

The following photos depict the COVID-19 situation in the country in the last year and CARE India’s recent response.

A woman in a hospital on a ventilator sits up while health care workers work around her.
Photo: Srinivas Panicker/CARE

A woman with COVID-19 sits upright on a bed while receiving treatment at the COVID-19 care facility in Patna. The newly opened facility is staffed with doctors and nurses, and has oxygen, medicine, and other medical equipment.

The treatment center opened to patients on April 27. There is a need to set up five more centers in other regional hubs in Bihar.

A group of health care workers stand by the door of a makeshift hospital set up in a stadium.
Photo: Srinivas Panicker/CARE

Essential workers dressed in full personal protective gear stand outside a new COVID Care Center in Patna, India. The 100-bed facility at Patliputra Indoor Stadium was set up by CARE India in cooperation with the government of Bihar.

CARE India has been working with the Government of Bihar to set up a 100-bed makeshift COVID Health Centers equipped with doctors, nurses, oxygen, medicines and medical equipment. The facility at Patliputra Indoor Stadium, Patna is operational with COVID patients undergoing treatment.

Photos: Srinivas Panicker/CARE

A health care worker in PPE.
Photo: © 2021 CARE

An essential worker wears full personal protective equipment while responding to COVID-19 cases in Bihar, India.

In India, CARE has been able to build off a nearly 10-year partnership with the Government of Bihar to strengthen the state’s health system, leading to a quick and effective COVID-19 response.

CARE India has a team of over 1,500 staff supporting the Government of Bihar in contact tracing, monitoring, infection control, and laboratory and hospital strengthening in response to COVID.

Photo: Srinivas Panicker/CARE
Photo: © 2021 CARE

CARE India is working to support hospitals and frontline workers and has donated nearly 20,000 PPE kits, over 222,000 masks, and 50,000 liters of sanitizers, and other essentials such as N95 masks, surgical gloves, surgical caps, and disposable bed sheets.

A woman receives a nasal swab as part of a COVID-19 test. CARE India is supporting communities in adopting appropriate preventive practices and hygiene behaviors and is helping connect individuals to COVID-19 testing and treatment services. CARE is also working with government staff to support with contract tracing and COVID-19 case monitoring.

A woman carries a bag of supplies on her head.
Photo: © 2021 CARE

A woman carries a bag of household goods and food aid in Bihar, India.

According to Kamunuri Jayamma, a street cobbler who received supplies, the kit has enough household provisions to sustain him for 45 days. “This support has given me a new hope and strength to face tomorrow,” he said.

Since March 2020, CARE India has distributed nearly 80,000 dry ration kits. These relief kits are customized to local areas and provide appropriate nutrition and immediate food relief to those impacted by the pandemic.

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