An Indian-American non-profit body has launched an initiative to serve and protect underprivileged communities in India against the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to help them emerge strongly through the resulting social and economic crisis. The American India Foundation (AIF), which was founded in 2001 in the aftermath of the devastating Gujarat earthquake, on Friday said it will use its existing "service delivery platforms" comprising frontline health workers, teachers, community mobilisers and local self-governments to contribute to the COVID-19 preparedness and response and strengthen India's healthcare system.
"We believe that India's poor, who have limited access to the right information, healthcare and are predominantly employed or self-employed in the unorganised sector, are expected to bear a disproportionate brunt of the economic fallout of this unprecedented health emergency," AIF Chief Executive Officer Nishant Pandey said, launching the intervention framework for COVID-19 response.
"In the medium to long term, the impact of job losses, disruption in children's education and social isolation might turn out to be greater than those from the health emergency," he said, adding that the organisation will try to ensure that the communities with the greatest needs are not affected the hardest during this crisis.
The AIF's intervention framework for COVID-19 response includes behaviour change communication, promoting community preparedness and building long-term resilience of communities.
The AIF has earlier worked in the relief needs and reconstruction efforts in several catastrophes in India, including the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, 2004 Tsunami, 2008 Bihar flood, 2013 Uttarakhand flood, 2014 Kashmir flood, 2015 Chennai flood, and 2018 Kerala flood.
The organisation claims that it has so far impacted lives of 5.6 million of India's poor in 24 states.