The Pandemic Is Not Over: Emergency Grants Issued in India and Nepal
In the United States, access to COVID-19 vaccines and ongoing public health measures have markedly decreased infections and hospitalization rates, a welcome relief after a devastating year, which upended life as we knew it and highlighted gaps in the U.S. health care and childcare systems, particularly for pregnant people, parents and families.
Despite progress in the U.S., vaccines remain largely out of reach for the majority of the world. Due to inequitable access to vaccines and the emergence of new, highly contagious variants of COVID-19, many countries, including areas where our partners work, are experiencing devastating outbreaks, with no end in sight.
Right now, India, Nepal and other South Asian countries are in the midst of the world’s worst outbreak, overwhelming health systems and devastating communities where mothers and families are perpetually underserved.
As COVID takes its toll on individuals, families and health systems, our partners are more committed than ever to ensuring the health and safety of their communities. To support our partners’ critical relief efforts, Every Mother Counts has issued COVID-response grants to Nazdeek in India and One Heart Worldwide in Nepal. In this season of deep uncertainty and volatility, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting their urgent work.
You can learn more about what these groups are doing in their communities, and how you can support them alongside Every Mother Counts, below.
An Update on Nazdeek, India
India, the world’s second most populous country, is reeling from a widespread second wave that reported to have a death toll of at least 170,000 people in April and May alone. The official recorded caseload since the start of the pandemic now stands at 28.4 million, the second-highest in the world after the United States, though many experts believe the true number to be much higher. This recent wave has threatened a total collapse of India’s health care system. A vaccine rollout is slowly underway, but health care providers and community groups are working hard in the interim to close the gap that the government has yet to fill.
Nazdeek, EMC’s partner since 2014, is a legal empowerment organization committed to bringing justice closer to marginalized communities in India. Nazdeek works at the community level to train paralegals and local community members in Delhi and Assam to know their rights and to hold the government accountable, mobilizing when those rights are being violated.
During the COVID crisis, Nazdeek has stepped in to support the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. They have enacted emergency relief measures in Delhi and Assam, including additional support for paralegals and essential food and supplies for pregnant women, lactating mothers and families. They have also been monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in the communities where they work and disseminating critical information to protect families. With sporadic lockdowns nationwide, textile and garment laborers–many of whom are mothers–have seen reduced hours and slashed essential wages. Most recently, Nazdeek has begun raising funds specifically to support these workers with basic food and hygiene supplies, including masks, flour, rice and lentils.
An Update on One Heart Worldwide, Nepal
North of the Indian border, Nepal is also experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 that began in April. At the outbreak’s peak, 47% of COVID-19 tests came back positive, and Nepal’s health care system became overwhelmed. With only 2.4% of the Nepali population fully vaccinated today, health care workers are hard at work to combat the crisis, and the government alone is unable to meet the urgency of the moment.
One Heart Worldwide stepped up to become one of the organizations closing gaps in care. As one of the largest and most trusted NGOs in Nepal, the organization is committed to supplying emergency medical equipment and supplies, and ensuring continued access to quality maternal and newborn health care across the country during the pandemic.
Every Mother Counts supports One Heart Worldwide’s efforts to ensure the health and safety of healthcare workers and the communities they serve. Our COVID-response grant to One Heart Worldwide is supporting the purchasing and distribution of PPE and other critical health supplies to hospitals and health clinics with the greatest need.