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Piramal Foundation To Invest Rs 100 Cr Towards COVID-19 Relief Work In Aspirational Districts

Aspirational districts are those districts in India that are lagging on development indicators. About 112 aspirational districts have been identified by the NITI Aayog.

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Piramal Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Piramal Enterprises, on Friday announced an investment of Rs 100 crore to address the impact of second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in aspirational districts, in partnership with the government's think-tank NITI Aayog.

The intervention seeks to reach 2 million people in 1,143 blocks. In Maharashtra alone, it aims to reach 1.25 lakh people in 32 blocks of four aspirational districts of Gadchiroli, Nandurbar, Osmanabad and Washim, which have been among the worst COVID-19 hit, it said.

Aspirational districts are those districts in India that are lagging on development indicators. About 112 aspirational districts have been identified by the NITI Aayog.

In a statement, Piramal Foundation said it will 'invest Rs 100 crore towards COVID-19 relief in the aspirational districts, in partnership with NITI Aayog'.

The investment will be made in setting up of 100 30-bedded temporary COVID-19 Care Centres in rural and tribal blocks in 25 affected aspirational districts including 4 districts in Maharashtra, it said.

Each Centre will cater to the population in the catchment area of the associated Primary Health Centre. These will be dedicated spaces for COVID-19 positive, asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases to be isolated and cared for in a well-ventilated room with essential facilities.

Besides, the Foundation said it will provide home care support to 20 lakh rural and tribal communities in 112 aspirational districts to support COVID-19 patients as a viable alternative for asymptomatic or mild-symptom patients seeking support from hospitals.

Through local NGOs, the intervention will enlist and train volunteers to engage with patients based on in-bound/out-bounds calls to educate caretakers to follow COVID-19 protocol and provide timely updates about patients, it added.

Piramal Enterprises Public Health Expert and Vice-Chairperson Swati Piramal said that as the pandemic spreads rapidly from urban areas to the rural hinterlands, containing the second wave of COVID-19 and curtailing the severity of a third wave is the top priority of the government.

'With its limited public health infrastructure and lack of skilled personnel, the rural health system is not adequately equipped to manage a surge in cases. There is a need for urgent and innovative action to address this gap,' she said.

'Anamaya', the Tribal Health Collaborative and other Piramal Foundation initiatives will help reduce the burden on the system and improve access to healthcare for the rural and tribal communities, she added.

'This pandemic has reiterated the power of collaboration for all of us. The support from philanthropic partners and civil society organisations have contributed immensely to each district's preparedness and COVID-19 response.

'Piramal Foundation has been a crucial member of our COVID-19 task force in Nandurbar,' said Rajendra Bharud, district magistrate of Nandurbar, Maharashtra.

According to the Foundation, the four aspirational districts in Maharashtra have been among the worst hit and that account for 1.6 lakh cases and close to 3,063 fatalities.

The number is growing alarmingly by the day, with almost 3.3 per cent of the deaths in Maharashtra happening in these aspirational districts, it added. 

(PTI)


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Piramal Foundation COVID-19 relief work investment