Google has announced that the company will support procurement and installation of approximately 80 oxygen generation plants in healthcare facilities in “high-need and rural” locations with new grants totalling roughly $15.5 million (Rs 112.6 crore). The tech giant’s philanthropic arm Google.org had previously provided aid worth $18 million (Rs 135 crore) at the onset of the second coronavirus wave in India in April. In response to COVID-19 in the country, Google is working with NGOs like GiveIndia, PATH, Apollo Medskills, and ARMMAN to set up oxygen generation plants and expanding the health workforce. For the procurement of oxygen, the company has allocated $15 million (Rs 109 crore) and will work with GiveIndia and PATH. Google will also provide a $500,000 (Rs 3.6 Crore) grant to ARMMAN to run skilling programmes for 180,000 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and 40,000 Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) in 15 Indian states. The NGO will further set up a call centre to provide additional help and advice for ASHAs and ANMs where required.
In a blog post, the company notes Google is investing in Apollo Medskills’ efforts to help upskill 20,000 frontline health workers through specialised training in COVID-19 management. It will complement and strengthen the stressed rural health workforce and rural health systems, Google adds. Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai also shared the development on Twitter. “Our hearts go out to those in India impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and we continue to look for ways to help. Today @Googleorg will provide an additional $15.5 million to build oxygen generation plants and train healthcare workers in rural India,” the post reads.
In the last few months, several other tech giants offered aid to help India battle the COVID-19 crisis. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had said that the company would use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices. Amazon last month partnered with global sellers to bring 9,000 oxygen concentrators to India. Overall, India is witnessing a drop in COVID new and active cases, but many are warning about a possible third wave. As of June 17, India’s total tally of COVID-19 stood at 2,97,00,313, while the active cases declined to 8,26,740, the lowest after 71 days. The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,81,903 with 2,330 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.