As second COVID wave intensifies, Mission MillionAir aims to make oxygen accessible to the needy

KVN Foundation's Mission MillionAir aims to provide free oxygen to the needy so that they can get critical life support till they find a hospital bed, get access to doctors, and recover completely from COVID-19.
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The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has battered India’s healthcare system. Choked hospitals are turning away patients and the shortage of oxygen has led to hundreds of deaths across the country.

The worst hit are the underprivileged who have been struck by a triple whammy: lack of resources, connections, and access to medical equipment.

Over the past few days, the resurgence of coronavirus has exposed the deep shortage of oxygen - a key treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The cost of oxygen for a patient can be anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 80,000 for five to 15 days. Many simply cannot afford this financial burden.

The oxygen scarcity has led startups and corporates across India to work at making the life-saving gas easily available to those in need.

To do their bit, the KVN Foundation has started Mission MillionAir. The aim of the mission is to provide free oxygen concentrators to the homes of the economically backward sections of India. The Mission MillionAir, which started in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, has already distributed free oxygen to a few hundred houses in Bengaluru.

Speaking about the initiative, K Ganesh, a successful investor, mentor, and entrepreneur and a core member of the KVN Foundation, tells YourStory,

“With the FeedMyCity initiative, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were focused on helping serve over 58 lakh meals to the migrant labourers and daily wagers hit by the sudden lockdown. This humongous task was made possible, with the support of 400 volunteers and over 50,000 donors, including 60 corporates, foundations, and trusts."  

This year, he says, the need is completely different. “The second wave of COVID has hit our healthcare systems. So we have now embarked on an initiate to save lives by supplying oxygen concentrators to the needy so that they can get critical life support till they find a hospital bed, get access to doctors, and recover completely,” Ganesh says. 

The KVN foundation is calling for donations (here) and aims to raise Rs 17 crore for a five-month period to support over 32,000 people across 16 cities. “Every crore will help us save the lives of 2,000 corona-positive patients,” Ganesh says.

The foundation is supported by the startup and corporate world with several volunteers. Its core team includes K Ganesh, Venkat K Narayana, CEO, Prestige Group; Juggy Marwaha, CEO, Prestige Office Ventures; and Neeraj Bhargava, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Antuit.

“The need for the distribution of these oxygen concentrators is critical. While everyone is rallying together to help in whatever way they can, unfortunately, the needy have again been hit hard. With Mission MillionAir, we want to ensure that the needy get timely healthcare aid soon,” Juggy says. 

The team is looking to procure oxygen concentrators in bulk, and identify people who need free help. On-ground volunteers will help in implementation and raise money to support all these activities.

“The topmost priority is sourcing 1,000 oxygen concentrators of top brands and highest quality. These will be provided for 5 to 10 days, as needed. They will then be taken back, sanitised, and reused on the next patient with a fresh set of consumables,” Juggy says. 

The team is currently receiving on-ground support from healthcare startup Portea and fintech unicorn Razorpay. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai