Amid the acute shortage of oxygen cylinders, life-saving medicines, and ambulances to ferry patients infected with the virus, good samaritan Munmun Sarkar from West Bengal’s Siliguri has emerged as a frontline warrior by driving COVID-19 patients to hospitals for free on her e-rickshaw. Her service, which is available 24*7, has been a blessing for those who couldn’t afford to pay a high sum for ambulance services. So far, she has ferried around 5,000 patients.
She also provides free rides to those who want to get vaccinated or are looking to get tested for COVID-19.
Sarkar further helps patients to sanitize their homes, besides extending her service to police stations, crematoriums, and religious places.
“While ferrying COVID patients to and from the hospital, I realized that sanitization is important to combat the virus. Then someone gifted me a sanitizing machine, making my work easier,” she was quoted in the media.
For women, by women
Several other initiatives are being spearheaded by women to help COVID-19 patients. A case in point is Ninebee Foundation’s Stree Safe - a free ambulance service in Pune run by women, for women.
Currently, the service has two women drivers, while five other women are being trained in self-defence and martial arts, before they officially join the fleet.
The foundation has already set up a fundraiser to buy three more ambulances. The plan is to have all kinds of support systems in the vehicle, including a ventilator, in order to provide immediate support to COVID-19 patients.
Once the service scales up a bit in Pune, the team plans to expand it to Delhi.
The foundation has also been working to provide food, oxygen cylinders and concentrators to COVID-19 patients.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)