India has the most significant postal company in the globe – and now it is stepping in to help deliver lifesaving medications through a countrywide lockdown aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The BBC’s Ayeshea Perera in Delhi stories.
Crimson postal vans are a acquainted sight in India. They make countless numbers of journeys just about every working day, criss-crossing the country’s broad community of post offices in 600,000 villages.
The postal provider does a great deal much more than supply letters and packages. It is also a lender, a pension fund and a main cost savings instrument for tens of millions of Indians. Now it will also be transporting medical tools and medicine to exactly where they are desired most, at a time when transportation has appear to a standstill.
When India went into full lockdown on 24 March in an try to end the unfold of the coronavirus, all corporations – aside from vital solutions – have been purchased to shut and men and women were being told to keep dwelling. Specified that the announcement was manufactured barely 4 hours ahead of the lockdown heading into outcome, many industries have been remaining in the lurch – which include hospitals, pharmaceutical corporations and labs at the forefront of the combat from Covid-19.
“We were being experiencing a lot of troubles. We ordinarily rely on courier services to deliver out products and solutions to buyers, but none of them were responding, in all probability because they didn’t have curfew passes or shipping and delivery persons,” Ashok Kumar Madan, the govt director of the Indian Drug Manufacturer’s Association (IDMA), advised the BBC. Many of these merchandise, he added, have been necessary medicines this sort of as for heart problems or most cancers.
Then, he received a connect with from Alok Ojha, the senior superintendent of the postal company in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous point out.
The postal assistance had now partnered with the IDMA in the western point out of Gujarat to supply medications and devices as a priority. Mr Ojha was featuring to do the same on a a great deal broader scale.
“We were surely wanting for a solution, and the postal assistance has unhindered entry the country,” Mr Madan mentioned.
That is for the reason that India Article is amongst only a couple industries considered “essential companies” and permitted to function typically during the lockdown.
“We believed we could assistance with this as we have a provide chain that is intact. Quite a few men and women I spoke to reported this would enable as it can help preserve medication in the market and stops hoarding,” Mr Ojha instructed the BBC.
As word spread, quite a few folks commenced calling and inquiring for help.
Dr Ujjala Ghoshal, a microbiologist at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Healthcare Sciences in the northern city of Lucknow, instructed the BBC she obtained in touch with Mr Ojha when a batch of Covid-19 tests kits she urgently required was stuck in the capital Delhi, 550km (340 miles) away.
“The Institute of Health-related Analysis instructed us that we would have to send out another person to Delhi to gather the kits because the courier business they generally applied was not operating, but there was no way we could do it since of the lockdown,” she claimed.
The postal provider, she explained, made an exception and basically went to the institute to pick up the kits, rather of having them dropped off at a put up workplace. She obtained them a day following she designed the ask for.
Several other institutions and companies have manufactured related requests. Mr Ojha states at any time because the lockdown commenced, the postal provider has been employed to produce all the things from batches of lifesaving drugs to Covid-19 tests, to N95 masks and ventilators, relocating medication and devices involving important towns and states – mainly by using the purple postal vans.
For more time or quite urgent journeys – these types of as a consignment of defibrillators that experienced to be transported from the point out of Tamil Nadu in the south to Uttar Pradesh in the north – cargo planes are used. At times, the consignments have to be taken care of with particular treatment – a person drug producer who requested for enable explained his medicines needed chilly chain maintenance, which means they want to be frozen when transported. And so much, each request made to the section has been fulfilled.
“We are the very best-connected services in India. We are everywhere you go. And in this circumstance, we realized we could support,” Mr Ojha suggests.
And with the lockdown established to be prolonged, he anticipates that the service will enjoy a greater position in the weeks in advance.