Saving lives, changing minds

Hard work of more than 40,000 Red Cross volunteers and over 3,000 staff on the frontline saving lives during COVID-19 pandemic.

Published on December 20, 2020 at 4:09 am

Updated on March 20, 2021 at 06:48 am

Volunteers serve food to ensure no one is left behind.
Hard work of more than 40,000 Red Cross volunteers and over 3,000 staff on the frontline saving lives during COVID-19 pandemic
The Indian Red Cross’ actions have impacted over 40 million lives since the start of the lockdown. Continued hard work and dedication of 40,000+ Red Cross volunteers and 3000+ staff, who are on the frontline, is Saving Lives and Changing Minds. The expanse of the organisation’s initiatives can be understood under the following two categories:
Role as Auxiliary to the Government
• Community kitchens, distribution of dry ration
• Community surveillance & community service (home delivery of medicines & essential items)
• Logistic support to quarantined homes & centers
• Red Cross Ambulances for transporting patients
• Distribution of masks, gloves, soaps, sanitizers, PPE kits, ventilators, face shields, etc.
• Shelter Homes, Red Cross Hospitals & Isolation centers
• Establishing link between stranded people & their families
• Advocacy & social distancing

Social distancing being facilitated among communities in remote rural tribal areas.
Blood & Blood Services:
• 24×7 operations of most of the 89 IRCS blood banks
• Mobilising donors for voluntary blood donation
• Pick and drop facility to donors
• Blood collection from donor vicinity
• Uninterrupted supply of blood to Thalassemics & other blood transfusion dependent patients
• Control Rooms and call centre services
• Additional measures for safety of staff & donors
Speaking with The Good Sight, RK Jain IAS (Retd), Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society, said, “Our post-COVID strategy would focus on strengthening advocacy efforts on social distancing, hygiene promotion and personal protection. Other priorities would include uninterrupted blood services, supporting BPL families in income generation (with cash transfer option), and organising COVID specific webinars. Other than this, specific COVID-19 projects would be piloted in States/UTs. Emphasis would also be given on psycho-social counselling including counseling for reducing stigma and discrimination.”

A Red Cross volunteer carries an elderly ailing woman to the nearest hospital for treatment in the absence of transportation services.
Case study: Caring for the elderly
The lockdown in India has certainly been effective in slowing the human to human transmission of the COVID-19 virus but has also inadvertently affected the lives of several vulnerable people and communities. Indian Red Cross is working tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of such people in need. When a 75-year-old woman, a resident of Patharkandi, Karimganj, Assam fell severely ill, staff and volunteers of IRCS Assam extended all possible support to her.
The septuagenarian Manashi Chakraborty has been living alone since her husband passed away years ago. While her health usually does remain unstable, it deteriorated considerably during the lockdown. The thought of being alone and miles apart from her only daughter who lives in Haryana added to her anxiety and impacted her health. Chakraborty felt that she had nobody to care for her.
The local Red Cross Chapter back home immediately rushed to Chakraborty’s aid, on being contacted by her daughter. Not only did they facilitate her medical check-up through the local Health Department, they also replenished her stock of prescribed daily medicines. The team also assured Chakraborty and her daughter of all possible support in case the need arises. Today, Chakraborty is doing well and enjoys visits by Red Crossers who regularly check on her.

A volunteer provides food and water to migrant labourers on their way home (Andhra Pradesh NH).
Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) is a statutory, voluntary humanitarian organisation that provides relief in times of disasters or emergencies and promotes health and care among vulnerable people and communities. Established in 1920 under the Indian Red Cross Society Act, we are a leading member of the largest independent humanitarian organisation in the world, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, with a network of over 1100 branches across India.



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