At a time when the entire nation struggles to cope with the horrific proportions taken by the second wave of Covid 19, various community-led initiatives have been introduced to support the activities of the local governments in tackling the growing menace as well as introduce innovative concepts to reduce the burden on the government and private medical infrastructure. JITO, a non-profit body of the Jain community is one such organisation that has launched the “Oxygen on Wheels” concept in Kolkata.
Working closely with the West Bengal Department of Health and Family welfare, they have introduced the first Oxygen on Wheels Bus in Kolkata on 11th May in Kolkata. It includes a modified 32 seater bus equipped with 4 oxygen concentration machines OF 5 LPM. The bus is also equipped with fans, mobile charging points, and redesigned seats to make patients comfortable and reduce their suffering. At any given time up to 4 patients can be serviced within the bus. It will be stationed at Government hospitals for patients waiting to be admitted and in need of oxygen. A health technician by the hospital will be provided for giving oxygen support. The entire admission of patients inside the bus will be at the sole discretion of the management of Govt Hospital. The hospital will also be supplying the electrical power required to operate the oxygen concentrators. The bus will be moving from one location to another and stationed at any of the state hospitals in the direction of the health department.
“We believe that this is the time for the entire community to come together as one and support the activities of the Government in any way possible. We are all in this fight against Covid 19 together. We look forward to undertaking many more initiatives to save precious lives”, said Rajesh Bhutoria, Chairman, JITO Kolkata Chapter. Bhaven Kamdar, Hon, Secretary, and the person coordinating was highly appreciative of the support by the Government, “We are grateful to the Hon’ble CM for not only giving us the permission in a matter of hours when this was put forth but for extending all support by the Department of Health and Family welfare.” “The whole thing was put together in less than 48 hours from ideation to permissions to the physical launch of the bus,” as per Sheetal Dugar, one of the brains behind the concept. Vinod Dugar readily consented and gave the school buses for this noble cause.
The cost of equipping any single bus with complete infrastructure is in the range of 3 Lakh rupees (the bus itself is also of JITO Member) which is being fully borne by JITO. They have plans of launching 2-3 more such Oxygen on Wheels buses to support the state healthcare system and bring relief to patients. Plans are also being discussed to increase the number of oxygen concentrators in each bus from 4 to 6, depending on how the pilot project is received. The Oxygen on Wheels bus has been presently deployed at the NRS Medical College from today.