Azim Premji Foundation doubles its commitment to tackle COVID-19, pledges Rs 2125 cr

It was in April 2020 that the foundation had pledged Rs 1,125 crore to tackle the pandemic in India.
File photo of Azim Premji
File photo of Azim Premji
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Amid the second wave of the COVID-19 crisis in India, Wipro and the Azim Premji Foundation, have nearly doubled their aid to tackle the pandemic, from Rs 1,125 crore earlier, to Rs 2,125 crore. In a statement, the foundation said that the earlier investment helped to create healthcare capacity and served more than 15 crore people in over 100 districts. The humanitarian support has also provided 54 crore meals to over 1.3 crore people and worked with over 83 lakh people to help regenerate their livelihoods, besides supporting the national effort for vaccination.

“The objective (now) is to support the public system to vaccinate people across the country at the earliest. These efforts would include augmentation of capacity of the public system to vaccinate, demand creation for vaccination through community mobilisation and dealing with vaccine hesitancy. These committed funds are in addition to the financial outlay of our regular operations – which too continue,” the foundation said. It was in April last year that the foundation had pledged Rs 1,125 crore for the cause.

Speaking about the efforts undertaken so far by the foundation, it said, “In some of the most disadvantaged regions of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Puducherry, Telangana, and Uttarakhand – where we have direct presence or have partners with strong on-ground presence – our team is working directly with government functionaries at the frontline to understand the crises, identify critical gaps and co-evolve solutions to mitigate them at the earliest.”

The foundation said that over 10,000 oxygenated beds and 1,000 ICU beds have and are being enabled in the public system by a range of equipment that they had committed and supplied. It said that it had also provided over 2 lakh PPE kits, 50,000 pulse oximeters, and other equipment for frontline workers.

“For enhancing testing, we have supported over 90 RT-PCR machines, 20 CB-NAAT machines and other equipment across locations. This includes setting up multiple turnkey testing labs in government hospitals in Almora (Uttarakhand), Ballari, Bengaluru (Karnataka) and Raigarh (Chhattisgarh)...We are also supporting ambulances in specific locations like Bangalore, Yadgir (Karnataka), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) to enable better access to these treatment facilities,” the company said.

“Over the next few months, in addition to the above-mentioned efforts, we plan to do significant work on the ground towards universal vaccination. This includes working with the government and other partners to augment the right kind of capacity to vaccinate and mobilise people to overcome vaccine hesitancy. We plan to do this across 85-110 districts in 10 states. These will cater to some of the most underserved regions and vulnerable populations in the country,” it added.

The foundation said that it was also extending humanitarian support by providing cooked meals, dry ration, and hygiene kits to around 1.3 crore people in 27 states and three Union Territories. In the last two months alone, the foundation said that it had provided around 43 lakh people with cooked meals or dry ration support, delivering over 21 crore meals.

“Till date, we have reached over 83.5 lakh people across 13 states – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal – in more than 300 blocks,” the statement added.

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