BHOPAL: A few NGOs in the city have joined hands to launch a campaign, 'Dawa Bhi, Dua Bhi' to provide medicines free of cost to patients who are in need but cannot afford them. They call themselves 'Bhopal Ek Saath' (Bhopal Together). The campaign was launched four days ago.
The group arranges for medicines for both corona, as well as non-corona, patients. Anyone in need of medicines which they cannot afford can contact the group on thei mobile numbers which have been publicised through social media.
They have a tie-up with some local pharmacies and medicine stores. Either the patient, or someone on his behalf, has to go to the store where the medicines are given to him and the payment is made by the group online. The entire process, they say, does not take more than a couple of hours. The group has helped around 20 people till now.
One of them is Narendra Bagre, 48. A resident of Panchsheel Nagar, a slum cluster in the city, Narendra is a driver by profession. He lost his job some months ago. He needed 30 injections of a blood-thinner medicine. ìHe had arranged for 16, costing Rs 638 a piece, by himself, but did not have the money for the rest. We helped him procure the injections,î says Ishan, one of the members of the group.
The group also helped a person who used to sell omelettes and boiled eggs on a handcart. ìHis earnings were reduced to nothing due to the frequent lockdowns and due to people avoiding street food,î he says. He was a TB patient and unfortunately, he contracted Covid, too.†
The group has also received requests for help from the family of a patient of black fungal infection. But the medicine for the ailment was not available in the local markets. ìWeíre trying to arrange for it,î he says.
Another member of the group, Piyush Ghosh, said that the corona pandemic-induced lockdowns and the consequent economic slowdown have broken the back of families which were surviving on a limited income. A large number of people working in the unorganised sector have lost their jobs and livelihood.
ìWhen we launched a mobile app to help people know about the availability of beds in hospitals, we got to know that many people didnít have the money to buy the medicines they needed. And we decided to do whatever we could for them,î he says.
The group has also been receiving calls for help from other places in the stateóincluding Sagar and Damoh. ìPatients from other places who have been admitted to hospitals in Bhopal are also approaching us. Currently, we have put a cap of Rs 5,000 per person on the help we can extend. But, God willing, weíll be able increase that figure soon,î says Ghosh.
They collected money from among themselves and from friends and relatives and are now planning to go for crowdfunding through the Ketto Online Crowdfunding platform.
'Doctors to our help'
We ask the person concerned to send the prescriptions, test reports and other details, which are then forwarded to one of the doctors of the local Gandhi Medical College who have very kindly agreed to help us. They go through the documents and let us know whether the need is genuine.Ishan, one of the group members