With no end or respite in sight from the ongoing second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, India's medical infrastructure has come under unprecedented strain in recent weeks. But unprecedented times call for unprecedented action and this may have been what drove several auto drivers in Pune to come out with a 'Jugaad Ambulance' initiative to help patients with their transportation requirements.
While hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and key medicines are reportedly in short supply in many parts of the country, even availability of ambulances may not be a certainity. As such, patients in Pune can at least hope for one more option in the form of specially retro-fitted autorickshaws that come with oxygen cylinders. "These oxygen cylinders can last for around six to seven hours and we have a helpling number which can be used by patients and their families to get in touch with us," Keshav Kshirsagar, leader of the initiative, told news agency ANI.
Kshirsagar added that the idea to come up with autos with oxygen cylinders came in response to the shortage of beds in many parts of the city in Covid-19 times. "We have trained our drivers on how to give oxygen to patients and we also have a doctors' team," he explained.
Maharashtra is one of the most severely affected states in the country in the second wave of the pandemic. Pune too has seen cases rise exponentially. In current times of crisis though, initiatives like 'Jugaad Ambulance' may just be the difference between life and death.