India: "What you see in the news is the reality here"
A deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections is devastating India. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Horrifying images of overcrowded hospitals are circulating around the world. Children are facing trauma and their protection is at risk.
As of 30 April, more than 200,000 people have died of the coronavirus in India, and 17.9 million infections have been confirmed. The already overburdened healthcare system is completely overwhelmed. People are dying in hospital corridors because there are not enough beds. "What you see in the news is the reality here," says Kyra Marwaha, Terre des hommes delegate for India and Nepal. "And the worst is yet to come. The big cities were hit first. It is now expected that the disaster will spread to smaller towns, where healthcare is even less accessible and where there is an increased shortage of vaccines."
A mother and child during a medical consultation.
Some of our activities have been suspended while others have been adapted. "Despite the situation, our teams are mobilised to ensure that essential healthcare and child protection activities can continue. We are making sure that mothers and children still have access to health services, as other diseases continue to take their toll," says Kyra Marwaha. In health centres, we have equipped medical staff with a digital tool to identify patients potentially infected with COVID-19 and separate them from others.
We are raising awareness in communities about the importance of preventive measures.
In West Bengal, one of the most affected states, Tdh is supporting its partners to provide emergency psychosocial support to children and families to help them through this crisis. We work with youth volunteers and partner staff who are distributing masks in local communities. They are also raising awareness on the importance of seeking early diagnoses, treatment, vaccination and prevention measures.
The situation in neighbouring Nepal is similar, although less reported in the media. The number of infected people and deaths is reaching record levels. As in India, our teams are committed to ensuring that the most vulnerable families continue to have access to medical care and that children are protected.
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Photo credits: © Tdh / Matthew Wallace, Sajana Shrestha