Maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society has successfully distributed 5,000 Covid Care Kits, helping more than 26,000 Indian seafarers and their families in the fight against Covid-19. The charity is also providing ongoing support to local seafaring communities in India via a dedicated 24/7 paramedic-led helpline.
The project was set up in response to India’s latest deadly wave of Covid-19 and funded by a grant of nearly £160,000 from the Seafarers’ International Relief Fund, with additional support from The Seafarers’ Charity.
Sara Baade, Sailors’ Society’s CEO said: “We are so pleased to have been able to provide this support and to be there for so many seafarers and their families during this devastating latest wave in India. Many families have a real need for basic medicines and advice about how to recognise and respond to Covid symptoms and we’re glad to have been able to provide that for them.
“This preventative support has the added impact of reducing hospital numbers so that already pressured services are not totally overwhelmed. We’re extremely grateful to our incredible team, partners and volunteers for making this project happen. Our thanks also go to the Seafarers’ International Relief Fund, The Seafarers’ Charity and everyone who donated to the SIRF for funding this vital work.”
With the help of their partners, the Volunteer Health Services (VHS) and Yenepoya Medical College Hospital, and volunteers from many seafarers’ clubs across the regions, Sailors’ Society’s team was able to reach thousands of seafarers and their families across 12 port cities in India.
The team overcame issues including bad weather, the cyclone season and key distribution personnel suffering from ill health themselves, to ensure that these vital resources successfully reached their intended beneficiaries.
Seafarer Raghu, who used the kit to monitor his temperature and oxygen levels as he quarantined from loved ones and colleagues, said: “I am very happy to have this kit. It is very helpful and very important to our recovery.”
Each care pack contains enough basic medicine and vitamins for a family of five, a digital thermometer, a pulse oximeter for monitoring oxygen levels, face masks, hand sanitiser and an information leaflet.
The dedicated helpline will run for 12 months and is available for anyone worried that they have contracted Covid-19 or who would like professional medical advice.
The project has been so successful that Sailors’ Society will be replicating the support model in Covid-hit seafaring communities in the Philippines this Autumn, with the support of a second grant from The Seafarers’ International Relief Fund.