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Young Turks: How startups are helping rural India battle COVID-19

Updated : May 12, 2021 19:35:02 IST

India’s COVID-19 infections have been at the 3 lakh mark for the last month, even hitting over 4 lakh on multiple days. This week also saw the highest death toll since the start of the pandemic.

The virus has now gripped rural India with a majority of the cases being reported from there. Rural parts of the country are now grappling with a lack of medical facilities and infrastructure to take on the virus.

In a bid to help these ravaged interiors of India fight COVID-19, a whole host of startups have started various initiatives with an aim to raise funds to support the hinterlands as well as the needy across the country.

An initiative of law and justice platform Agami, ruralindia.help is a COVID response tracker that aims to plug the information gap and put the spotlight on the work of thousands of rural initiatives across India that currently make up the first line of defence against the virus. As COVID threatens to overwhelm the heartland, the collective aim is to gather support and funds for the community based organizations so as to soften the impact on livelihood, education and health.

Student led startup HelpNow was created with a mission to make ambulance services in India free for all. The initiative is raising funds to run a 24x7 logistics network for transporting COVID patients, drugs, phlebotomists, healthcare workers and medical supplies in India. Servicing Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru currently, HelpNow seeks to expand its footprint further into India.

Entrepreneur Dishant Shah has been working with his network in India and across the UK to raise funds for Gujarat based NGO Shrimad Rajchandra Love & Care. The organization has started a 100 bed COVID centre in Valsad in Gujarat this week and is already running a 50 bed critical care hospital that is at 100 percent capacity. Since April 25th the facility has been running 24x7 to cater to as many COVID patients from the 238 villages in the Valsad belt.

To find out more about these initiatives, CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan spoke to Sachin Malhan of ruralindia.help and Co-Founder of Agami; Aditya Makkar, Founder of HelpNow; and Dishant Shah, CEO and Co-Founder of Spherical Defence.

Watch the video for more.
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