The deadly Corona virus has claimed millions of lives and it has placed the entire healthcare sector both in India and the United States under tremendous stress. While the Indian American medical fraternity has been at the front lines of the fight against the pandemic, the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic medical organization in the USA representing the interest of more than 100,000 physicians in the USA, has been in the forefront to help India, their motherland deal with the crisis of India.
Under the able leadership of Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI, and Dr. Sujeeth R. Punnam, Chair, COVID Relief Committee, AAPI has carried out several initiatives to help India cope with the unprecedented impact of the deadly virus. Other members of this important committee include: Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect, AAPI; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary, AAPI; Dr. Tarak Vasavada, MD, Member, AAPI BOT: and, Dr. Himansh Pandya.
“The generosity of the members of AAPI has been unprecedented,” says Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI. “I want to thank the AAPI fraternity, for not only contributing $5.5 Million towards Covid Relief Funds for India, but has spent hundreds of hours in coordinating and disbursing the vital medical supplies to the most needed hospitals across India.”
“Thanks to the overwhelming support of its members that AAPI has raised almost $5 million in the past few months,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI said. “We have been working very hard in sending oxygen concentrators and ventilators to India, to deal with the calamity in India and are in the process of helping to set up oxygen generator plants in different hospitals in India,” added, Dr. Ravi Kolli.
Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, AAPI’s Regionals Director and Chair of the Covid Relief Committee, said, “Thus far, AAPI has provided 3,200 Concentrators, 100 Ventilators and 100 High Flow Nasal Canula Machines To 45 Hospitals In India as part of the Covid Pandemic Relief Efforts.”
Even as the pandemic is waning in many parts of the world, AAPI has been collaborating with several agencies and the government of India to help reach the much needed care and supplies to the remotest places in India. Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said, “AAPI has been coordinating several efforts, including the provision of oxygen plants and necessary lab equipment. Thanks to the overwhelming support of its members that AAPI has raised over $5.5 million.” “The outbreak of Covid 19 has caused significant health-related social, political and economic consequences worldwide. AAPI executive committee, board of trustees and members have been working very hard in sending medical equipment to India,” Dr. Kathula pointed out.
“We continue to coordinate efforts to make available the much needed vaccines in the Slum areas in major cities where compliance is very low and apart from life-saving equipment for severe Covid patients management in ICUs,” said Dr. Tarak Vasavada, who has been in the forefront leading AAPI’s efforts to help India during the Covid.
“As AAPI cannot direct its resources to specific areas and relies on the government of India to distribute its supplies, AAPI has been working outside of the umbrella of AAPI for direct transfer of the essential material, focusing mainly on the peripheral hospitals who do not get aid readily” , added. Dr. Himanshu Pandya.
In continuation of its efforts, during the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit in Hyderabad, on January 7th this year, AAPI donated immunoanalyzer at AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana, which does hundreds of tests every day. This is part of Covid relief efforts AAPI has taken over during the second wave of pandemic.
Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, president of AAPI along with Dr. Satheesh Kathula, AAPI secretary, and Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Chair, Covid relief committee participated in the inauguration of biochemistry lab/Immunoanalyzer at AIIMS, Bibinagar, Hyderabad. Later on they planted trees in AIIMS Vatika, Bibinagar and named one of them “AAPI”.
AAPI has been collaborating with Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals, while the cost of the oxygen plants were shared equally by AAPI and Rotary International. Chemiluminescence Immunoanalyzers (CLIA), Beckman Coulter UniCel Dxl 800 access Immunoassay system. This equipment has a throughput of 200 tests/hour and will make point of care testing like covid antibody tests, Ferritin, D Dimer, troponin, IL6, procalcitonin, CRP etc. easy. Each of these costs around $80,000.
Some of the other major institutes that benefitted from AAPI’s contributions included: Stanley Medical College Hospital, Chennai, Tamilnadu, where the inauguration was done virtually by the AAPI team and in person by Health Minister of Tamilnadu; Sadbhavana Trust Hospital, a non-profit organization in South Gujarat and treats completely rural population; and Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital, a non profit organization serving rural Gujarat area of Dharampur is building a 250 bed hospital and AAPI is contributing $100,000 towards central monitoring equipment for the ICU.
“AAPI has sent more than 2300 oxygen concentrators, 100 ventilators, 200 high flow oxygen devices since 2021 to various parts of India. We are working to help AIIMS across the country which have been opened recently that haven’t secured the full funding yet from the government. After our initial donation to AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana AAPI is planning to donate immunoanlysers to all AIIMS across the country. As you may remember, AAPI had donated ventilators and high flow oxygen equipment to AIIMS in the past,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Clinical Professor of Medicine and AAPI Secretary said.
“As you may know, with a wonderful support by members and non-members, AAPI has raised $5,500,000 in the year 2021 for covid relief activity. Since that time the Covid Relief Committee has been working relentlessly to help the motherland. The committee has a strict criteria to send the equipment only to non profit or charity hospitals after careful reviewing. AAPI has donated oxygen plants, immunoassay analyzers to numerous hospitals. The work is still on going,” added Dr. Punnam.
“The past year, while posing major challenges have also provided opportunities for AAPI to continue to work together in helping realize the mission of AAPI,” said Dr. Gotimukula. “We are proud that several Indian American physicians are recognized globally for their contributions to combat the deadly pandemic. AAPI will continue our efforts and give our best to our Motherland in the fight against the deadly pandemic.” For more information on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org