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Manipur receives PPEs, Covid-19 related items from generous NGO

Handing over of COVID Relief Supplies at District Hospital, Bishnupur

Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Noney, Bishnupur and Senapati Districts have received a number of N95 masks, PPE kits, disposable gloves, oximeters, hand sanitizers and other COVID related provisions from Sunbird Trust.

By Sanjoo Thangjam

While Manipur largely escaped the first wave of COVID infections, it has not been spared by the second. In fact, considering the relatively small population of the state as compared to others, the pro rata rate of infection would appear to be on the higher side.

The administrative and medical establishment of the state have perhaps never had to deal with a crisis of this nature and magnitude. The Government machinery has been put under heavy strain and has been tested to its limits especially considering the logistical and administrative challenges. Several local and national NGOs have stepped in to support the work of the state government. Many of these have performed admirable service especially for “last mile” assistance to affected persons in remote areas.

One of these is Sunbird Trust, an NGO working across Northeast India with the motto of “Peace through Education”. With the generous support of Sunbird Trust’s partner organisation Anaha Trust and its founder Balagopal Chandrasekhar, a former IAS officer who had served in Manipur in the 1970s, a large quantity of COVID relief equipment and stores has been sourced.

The items were distributed it for use in District Hospitals and Primary Health Centres in Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Noney, Bishnupur and Senapati Districts. The stores include thousands of N95 masks, PPE kits, disposable gloves, oximeters, hand sanitizers and other COVID related provisions. Mr Japan, Medical Officer at Moirang Community Health Centre said that the medical supplies given by Sunbird Trust would serve the Centre for a good period of time. This would reduce worries of the staff and allow them to concentrate on the COVID situation with ease.

Col Christopher Rego (Retd), CEO of Sunbird Trust mentions that the COVID relief outreach of the Trust in Manipur would not have been possible without the timely support of Balagopal Chandrasekhar who has taken a keen interest in development of educational institutions in the state. Anaha Trust, through the aegis of Sunbird Trust, has already sponsored the building of four computer laboratories and school infrastructure including classrooms and science laboratories in remote villages of the state. The Anaha Trust team made the funds available most immediately so that the stores could be procured expeditiously and would be available in a timely fashion.

In fact, when Armstrong Pame, District Commissioner of Tamenglong, requested for a critically required Arterial Blood Gas Analyzer , the machine was sourced from New Delhi and delivered in less than 10 days. The logistics were, however, not without hiccups – A large consignment of oximeters sent from Kerala was detained at Guwahati airport as the oximeters had small batteries which were not permitted in the normal cargo. Hence these batteries had to be removed before the consignment could reach Imphal. 

In Churachandpur District, Sunbird Trust team has partnered with The Highland Group whose members are working on the ground with COVID relief outreach activities. These include distribution of COVID medical supplies, transportation of patients to and from the treatment centres, assistance in vaccinations and even providing hot meals to medical staff and first line responders. During April  2021, Sunbird Trust had contributed a Tempo Trax Ambulance to the PHC at Oinam Hill village in Senapati District

Pratip Ganguly, Sunbird Trust’s Community Development Manager says that 1st July being Doctors Day, it is apt that Sunbird Trust could support the doctors across Manipur for their yeoman service to society in the face of great personal risks.  He mentioned that the Sunbird Trust team has temporarily diverted their efforts from the partner schools of the Trust to COVID relief activities. This work is expected to continue for at least a month. The Trust is also looking to provide ration kits for families whose livelihoods were badly impacted by the pandemic.

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