Jamati and AKDN institutions continue to deploy their institutional resources and expertise in the service of national response efforts, in order to suppress the spread of the virus through public education and communication, provide health services to those who have been infected, and support communities with humanitarian and other assistance to deal with the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.
The situation in India remains an urgent priority. The Prince Aly Khan Hospital (PAKH) in Mumbai, part of the Aga Khan Health Services, is at the forefront of the response and has been recognized for its standard of care. Since the onset of the pandemic, PAKH has dedicated nearly half of its total bed capacity and close to 80 percent of its critical care beds to Covid-19 patients. An additional 50-bed unit was established to serve as a quarantine centre for asymptomatic patients and staff. More than 1,800 Covid-19 patients have been treated so far.
“We adapted quickly during the first wave,” said Dr Sulaiman Ladhani, consulting chest physician and Head of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at PAKH. “We established common management protocols, infection control protocols, and a robust monitoring system to care for our patients and ensure the safety of our staff. This preparedness has only served to strengthen our response to the second wave.”
The hospital has also performed more than 13,000 RT-PCR tests, the vast majority at a heavily subsidised fee or at no cost. It has also administered thousands of inoculations and continues to do so.
With support from FOCUS, Jamati institutions in India are engaged in a concerted effort to fight the pandemic on numerous fronts. A 24/7 helpline has been established to help people gain access to hospital beds, welfare assistance, mental health counseling, tele-medicine, and guidance on access to vaccination access. Over 4,000 families have been supported with food, rations, medicines, hospital bills, and children's school fees. Oxygen cylinders are being recycled and have provided almost two million litres of oxygen in areas where availability is scarce. Eight isolation centres have been established to allow for mild cases to be treated outside of the hospital. Proactive mental health support is being regularly provided to the elderly, while education support is being provided for children who have not been able to attend school during the pandemic.
Elsewhere around the world, the AKDN continues to work closely with governments to address the impact of the pandemic. In Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kenya, and Tanzania, 21 field hospitals with a capacity of more than 400 beds have been established for Covid-19 patients.
The Aga Khan University Hospitals in Karachi and Nairobi and the Prince Aly Khan Hospital in Mumbai have also participated in national and international Covid-19 drug and vaccine trials. Researchers in Karachi discovered ways in which to use a single ventilator for two patients simultaneously, thereby saving lives. The Aga Khan University has also developed 3D-printed nasal swabs that can be produced in Pakistan, reducing the need for importing nasal swab kits.
In addition, in Central Asia and East Africa, an eHealth system provides critical virtual consultations for rural and remote areas. Aga Khan University’s Intensive Care Unit doctors have provided expert advice to over 1,100 physicians across Pakistan. Aga Khan Health Services and Aga Khan University jointly developed a mobile application to track Covid-19 immunisation, which is being launched in Tajikistan.
In London, the Ismaili Centre has been transformed into a Covid-19 testing site for people in the neighborhood, while on the west coast of the USA, teams of health professionals have been assisting with providing vaccinations.
Despite these efforts, and the work of many other local, national, and international institutions, the virus continues to pose serious threats to health and livelihoods. Communities everywhere must continue to follow public health precautions and guidelines, especially the wearing of masks, hand washing, and other hygiene measures, respecting physical distancing guidelines, avoiding gatherings outside the household, and taking maximum and timely advantage of vaccination programmes where they are available.
The Global Pandemic Relief Fund is an important source of support for these and many other efforts. Those wishing to make a contribution to this work of the AKDN, can do so through the following links:
All Other Countries:
For other countries, please donate through one of the above offices, or please contact [email protected] to discuss other international giving options.