Diageo pledges Rs 45 cr to support India's public health infra for COVID-19

Global alcoholic beverage major Diageo on Monday said it has pledged Rs 45 crore to support India's public health infrastructure for COVID-19 during the second wave of the pandemic.

Under the initiative, the company will help nodal government hospitals in 21 districts to set up Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants to create long-term oxygen capacity, Diageo said in a statement.

Moreover, Diageo will also provide state governments fully equipped, prefabricated 16-bed mini-hospital units with PSA oxygen plants in 15 most critical districts, it added.

"This will help increase hospital bed capacity in the district with the flexibility to upgrade to ICUs or critical care as well as relocate to districts of greatest need. In addition, the company will donate medical equipment including oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, ventilator beds and other critical devices to public hospitals across 10 States," the statement said.

Diageo India Managing Director and CEO Anand Kripalu said, "At a time when the country is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, we want to support the government's efforts and stand by the citizens of India."

Stating that long-term medical infrastructure especially hospital beds and self-sufficiency in oxygen is what is needed most, he said, "We hope our contribution going into every state and UT will help play a part in India's recovery. With this pledge, Diageo have so far contributed Rs 130 crore towards COVID relief."

Of the latest pledged sum, Rs 35 crore (GBP 3.5 million) will be funded by Diageo Plc directly, the statement said.

Diageo said it has adopted the ''One District One State'' approach given the scale of devastation of the second wave of the pandemic in India with the aim to ensure that support reaches at least one district in each state and union territory of the country.

"Diageo's initiative will be supported by the national investment promotion agency, Invest India and executed by GiveIndia by prioritising the requirements of the state authorities, identifying critical districts, and ensuring smooth transition to state medical officials," the company added.

As part of its steps to combat COVID-19, the company said from March last year 2020 it has produced 3 lakh litres of bulk hand sanitiser across 15 manufacturing units for use by public healthcare workers and donated 1,50,000 masks to five state's public health departments and introduced a Rs 3 crore healthcare insurance for bartenders.

Diageo India had also launched a Rs 75 crore revival and recovery program - ''Raising the Bar'', to support pubs, bars and restaurants in the country, it added.

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