Sunday, June 20, 2021
Times of Georgia


The Indian diaspora in New Zealand continues to chip in India’s fight against the deadly second wave of Covid, with the latest case of a philanthropist donating 380 oxygen concentrators and five generators worth a few million New Zealand Dollars.

Dr S Gurushankar – a health administrator who has been a resident in the country for a few years and the President & Managing Trustee of Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre in India – donated procured oxygen concentrators in New Zealand and donated 50 of them to the Government of Tamil Nadu and 25 to the Government of Bihar.

The office of the Indian High Commission acknowledged the gesture in a social media post on Monday, June 7, “We deeply appreciate the noble gesture of Dr S Gurushankar.”

Speaking with the Indian Weekender, Dr Gurushankar said, “I was deeply moved by the covid situation in the capital and other parts of India.

“Being in the health sector for more than three decades, I knew that sooner or later that wave will reach my home state of Tamil Nadu and therefore felt the desire to do something.

“We have a big hospital chain back in Madurai and Tanjore Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre, which is already at the forefront of providing health care amidst Covid.”

“We managed to purchase 380 oxygen concentrators from New Zealand and sent it back while purchasing five oxygen generators locally in India for our Madurai & Tanjore operations.”

Madurai’s Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre (MMHRC) is the biggest multi super-speciality hospital in Tamil Nadu outside of Chennai.

On being probed further about the total dollar value of the medical help generated through his personal funds, Dr Gurushankar reluctantly told the Indian Weekender that it was a few million dollars as the Oxygen Concentrators were big-ticket items that are desperately required at medical facilities back in India.

Notably, the Indian diaspora in New Zealand, along with many other local businesses and charitable organisations, has been running a sustained campaign to generate funds that can be used to send help to India in its fights against Covid.

Earlier last month, Indian diaspora organisations of New Zealand have come together to raise more than $300,000 to send around 150 oxygen concentrators in two separate baches. Additionally, several other diaspora organisations and individual members of the Kiwi-Indian community have been fundraising and sending money to help India fight the deadly second wave of the Covid pandemic.

The funds are largely being channelled through various agencies on the ground, primarily to provide oxygen concentrators and oxygen generators wherever required.

For the uninitiated, Oxygen generators are completely different from medical oxygen concentrators; while the latter are used in hospitals or at home to concentrate oxygen for patients, the former is used in producing industry-grade medical oxygen.

Indian High Commission acknowledges support from people of NZ

Meanwhile, in another social media post, the office of the Indian High Commission has acknowledged all support – private, public and govt to govt – in India’s fight against Covid and humbly requested that now there was no need for any assistance.

“High Commission of India, Wellington gratefully acknowledges NZ $1 million provided by the government of New Zealand to Red Cross for mobilising medical supplies and equipment in India during the exceptionally severe second wave of the Covid-pandemic in India.”

“It also deeply appreciates the contributions of Indian Associations and the people of New Zealand for sending Oxygen concentrators and other essential supplies that saved many precious lives.”

“There has been a continuous scaling up of our domestic capacities and the case load has been a sharp and continuous decline in the last few weeks,”

“The High Commission of India would like to convey that India does not have any further need for Government to Government or Private to Government assistance. However, private assistance offered through the Indian Red Cross Society will continue till August 31, 2021,” the office of Indian High Commission said on a social media post. (Sandeep Singh)

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