Dr Huzaifa Khorakiwala.. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Aug 8 : The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call for our entire healthcare system, feels Dr Huzaifa Khorakiwala, CEO of Wockhardt Foundation.

"Besides increasing healthcare infrastructure and improving the doctor-patient ratio, it is imperative that the public and private sectors need to focus on providing not only good quality but also affordable healthcare in both urban and rural areas. The pandemic and the resultant social distancing norms have also unwittingly brought to the forefront the importance of adopting digital/technological advancements into the health system. Start-ups looking to enter the healthcare space should be encouraged.

"While things may not change immediately, a sustained approach will definitely help in achieving the long term goal of bridging the existing healthcare gaps," Dr Khorakiwala told IANSlife in an email.

On the Covid front, the Foundation has also come together with Biogetica to conduct multidisciplinary research into remedies and strategies to effectively combat the virus.

The CEO of Wockhardt Foundation, a not-for-profit organization which runs several programmes in health, education, water and sanitation across the country, also found it heartening to see humanitarian efforts across the country, during this time.

"It is heartening to see that people from all walks of life have come together to help others in whatever capacity that they can. However, the pandemic and the lockdowns have had an adverse impact on people's health, finances, education etc. and it is therefore important that people continue to receive the necessary support that they require to start rebuilding their lives," he shared.

The Foundation itself, has been active in aiding the needy, as the country continues to battle the unprecedented pandemic. Their Anaaj+ programme was started with the aim of providing these people with groceries and toiletries for a month. In partnership with various corporate and individual corona warriors, they distributed 4680 grocery kits in the slums in Mumbai -- a highly affected city -- benefitting over 22,000 people.

As part of their flagship programme, Mobile 1000, mobile medical vans continue to provide free primary healthcare to villagers in rural India. Patients who come to these vans, and display Covid-19 symptoms are referred to the nearest testing clinic.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns has led to a loss of livelihoods, with many being unable to afford the essentials that are required to run their homes, notes the Yale University MBA.

In a much-needed gesture, the Foundation also fed animals during the lockdown. Asked about the motivations behind it, Dr Khorakiwala shared: "During the pandemic, a lot of misinformation was being circulated that the virus could be transmitted from pets/local community animals leading to a fear among people and the possibility of these pets being abandoned. This fear also led to community animals like stray dogs and cats being deprived of food. With this in mind, we started a campaign to help these animals that were also indirectly affected by the pandemic and the following lockdowns." (Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)

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