Mars Inc pledges critical medical equipment worth $2.3M for COVID-19 relief in India
Global petcare, food and confectionery major Mars Inc on Wednesday pledged critical medical equipment worth $2.3 million (over Rs 16 crore) for India, as part of its ongoing efforts towards COVID-19 relief in the country.
Mars is providing 404 oxygen concentrators for patients in hospitals as well as those under home quarantine, 200 oxygen masks and 200 oxygen central pipeline flow meters, transportation from villages to medical or quarantine centres, food rations, and other necessary, life-saving support, the company said in a statement.
"These resources are intended to provide lasting support that will continue to benefit communities throughout Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu," it added.
The initiative has been carried out in partnership with international organisations such as Oxfam, CARE and Business Fights Poverty Crown Agents along with local NGO, Sankalp Beautiful World, the company said.
Commenting on the development, Mars Wrigley India General Manager Kalpesh R Parmar said, "The past few months have been difficult and times like these, require us to step up and support one another. Mars has always been committed to India and the health and well-being of our communities is our priority."
The company has been working with frontline workers and communities in different parts of the country since last year, he said, adding, "This initiative is another step towards ramping up the medical infrastructure. It is heartening to see everyone rallying together to help in whatever way they can."
Out of the total $2.3 million, the company said the Mars Wrigley Foundation has awarded $300,000 to Save the Children, who in addition to medical equipment and support, will provide broader healthcare services for families and children.
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The Tasty Bite Foundation, a non-profit organisation of Tasty Bite Eatables Ltd, a Mars group entity, has also donated approximately $82,000 to create two healthcare centres with 160 beds each for affected patients, and has equipped two hospitals with life-saving equipment and medicines in Maharashtra, the statement said.
Welcoming the help from Mars, Save the Children India Chief Executive Officer Sudarshan Suchi said, "With this support, we will provide essential healthcare supplies and equipment to children and their families. Additionally, we will strengthen our healthcare infrastructure and provide support in rolling out the government's vaccine programme."
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said the second wave of the pandemic showed how India's health infrastructure was under-equipped and under stress, and there is an urgent need to strengthen it so that the country is prepared for any third wave that is predicted.
"Oxfam India is very happy to partner with Mars to provide relief to the most marginalised people during this crisis in terms of providing support for accessing healthcare facilities, providing critical medical equipment, medications and food rations for families," Behar added.
Besides initiatives for the community, Mars said it has already rolled out a series of comprehensive health and well-being initiatives for its associates, contracted workers and people who support the business in India. These include corporate vaccination sponsorship for over 6,000 associates, contractors, and their family members.
Mars said there are over 1,000 associates across Mars Wrigley, Mars Petcare, Mars Food, and Royal Canin in India.