These founders are on a mission to procure 5,000 oxygen concentrators to help India fight COVID-19

Democracy People Foundation has started an initiative called 'Mission Oxygen' to help hospitals across the country get immediate access to oxygen concentrators.
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With the number of daily COVID-19 cases reaching 3.46 lakh, the second COVID-19 wave has put India's entire healthcare system under immense stress. Several hospitals from across India have been reporting a shortage of oxygen, with the lives of several people under threat.

Amidst the shortage of oxygen cylinders and concentrators, Democracy People Foundation has started an initiative called 'Mission Oxygen' to help hospitals across the country get immediate access to oxygen concentrators.

"We managed (to procure) about 500 concentrators in about 12 hours," says Rahul Aggarwal, Co-founder of Designhill, in a conversation with Shradha Sharma, CEO and Founder, YourStory.

Led by a group of founders, Democracy People Foundation comprise Rahul Aggarwal and Varun Aggarwal of Designhill; Uday Anand, Founder, Crush Fitness India; Shikher Gupta, Founder, Cuttlefish; and Satvacart Founder Rahul Hari Saxena.

"It's not one person's initiative, it's everybody's — everybody who is sharing, who is trying to promote, who is trying to get the word out. There is so much requirement out there that we're not able to fulfil that no matter what."

Through the fundraiser on Ketto.org, the team has been able to raise Rs 4 crore (as of the publishing of this copy) out of the target of Rs 5 crore.

"We're getting help from all corners. We're speaking to the Delhivery guys, SpiceJet, and different people across industries who are trying to do their bit," Rahul adds.

Image: Democracy People Foundation

The team has managed to procure 500 concentrators from China, which will be shipped out on Monday for India and we will be able to supply them to the hospitals earliest by Wednesday.

"China is closing for 10 days, from May 1. So, nothing will come out of China after that. So whatever we have to do, we have to do before that. That's just the kind of effort we're trying to make," he says.

The team set out with an initial target of procuring 100 oxygen concentrators, the requirement shot up to 3,000, and then 5,000, for 14 hospitals, as well as supplying them to the Maharashtra and Delhi governments.

"We have a requirement from hospitals in Maharashtra, UP, Delhi, Gujarat etc for more than 5,000 concentrators. And that's just the tip of the iceberg," Rahul adds.

Though Rahul says people have been asking the team to provide the concentrators on a one-on-one basis, the team is looking to provide the equipment to the organisations and healthcare providers which are in dire need and are looking for help.

"We're only looking to give these to hospitals, NGOs, and nursing homes — who are actually going to give it out to more number of people."

The 100 percent not-for-profit initiative has already placed an order for 100 more concentrators, and the team is trying to procure the concentrators before China closes due to Labour Day and Dragon Boat Festival. In an update on Ketto.org, the team is looking to take the total tally to 865 concentrators by Friday, April 30.

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