Advance partners with UNICEF to combat virus in India

Staff of CMC Vellore check in members of the local community for the Vaccinate Vellore campaign. Photo: Courtesy of CMC Vellore
Staff of CMC Vellore check in members of the local community for the Vaccinate Vellore campaign. Photo: Courtesy of CMC Vellore
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When COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in South Asia, support made it possible for partners to mobilize, prevent and treat the virus in their local communities.

In 2021, General Board of Global Ministries supported a new Advance project initiated by First UMC in Boise, Idaho. 100% of funds donated to “Love Beyond Borders: The Interfaith Movement to End the Pandemic” (Advance #3022671) will support UNICEF’s global effort in distributing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

During the spring and summer of 2021, Global Ministries provided grants to partner organizations in the South Asia nations of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. The grants were targeted to areas where the effects of a rapidly growing surge in coronavirus cases wreaked havoc on health-care systems already stretched thin.

At the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, substantial grants funded procurement and mobilization of essential medical equipment, medications and supplies. This enabled CMC to expand its ability to provide COVID-19 treatment, including increasing intensive care capacity by a remarkable 15 to 20%. Global Ministries also helped to support CMC’s “Vaccinate Vellore” campaign, a program that provided vaccines to thousands of marginalized individuals across all age groups.

Increasing public awareness and information about COVID-19 and vaccines took to the streets in India. Photo: Courtesy of CMC Vellore 
Increasing public awareness and information about COVID-19 and vaccines took to the streets in India. Photo: Courtesy of CMC Vellore.

Off the coast of India on the island nation of Sri Lanka, the pandemic worsened in May. Partner organizations Lanka Evangelical Alliance Development Service (LEADS) and Association of Mobilizing Community Resources received assistance to get food and hygiene items to low-income families in quarantine and lockdown, as well as personal protection equipment (PPE) to government responders.

Bangladesh has had more than a million cases of COVID-19. While the country has made significant progress in its poverty reduction and food security efforts over the last decades, the pandemic has threatened to undue this progress.

To bolster local food security, UMCOR awarded a grant in July to the Bangladesh Methodist Church (BMC) that was used to provide vulnerable households in Dhaka with food and hygiene kits. This support made it possible for the BMC to help meet the basic human needs of these families suffering because of COVID-19 lockdowns.

In Nepal’s Lumbini province, United Mission Hospital Tansen (UMN MDT) reported record-high maternity statistics for the year just ending – 2,557 deliveries – because government birthing centers were closed as a result of COVID-19. Women were unable to access safe delivery services anywhere else. The hospital’s Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) project gave women the information they needed to come to Tansen for help, thanks to Global Ministries funding.

In Raksingrang, Nepal, an UMCOR grant to partner Sangyukta Methodist Mandali Ko Biswabyapi Sewakai in August ensured the delivery of food rations and hygiene kits to vulnerable households. The public health crisis and lockdowns were particularly hard on daily wage earners who were unable to provide for their families.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic persists in its continuous mutations and spread. Global Ministries and UMCOR remain committed to supporting partners and working to reduce the spread of the disease.

excerpt from a story by Dan Curran, consultant for Global Ministries and UMCOR.

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