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Google announces grants worth ₹113 crore to support healthcare needs in India

Debangana Ghosh Mumbai | Updated on July 12, 2021

Will invest ₹113 crore to support healthcare facilities and up skilling frontline healthcare workers

 

Google on Thursday announced new funding commitments to strengthen healthcare infrastructure and workforce in rural areas to embolden the fight against Covid-19. Through Google.org, the company said it will invest $15 million (₹109 crore) to support healthcare facilities and another $500,000 (₹3.6 crore) for upskilling frontline healthcare workers.

The company has partnered with several non-profit organisations to achieve these commitments including GiveIndia, PATH, Apollo Medskills and ARMMAN.

₹90 cr grant for Give India

The highest grant of $12.5 million (₹90 crore) went to Give India, which will be the managing the project end-to-end. The NGO’s deliverables include supporting Google’s procurement and installation of approximately 80 oxygen generation plants in healthcare facilities in high-need and rural locations. PATH which will be receiving the remaining $2.5 million (₹18.5 crore) grant will be working along with Give India on the mission. PATH will help identify the target locations and provide technical assistance for the project, working with state governments and other authorities, and complete the installation of oxygen generation plants.

The other $500,000 grant will be given to ARMMAN for running skilling programmes for 180,000 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and 40,000 Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) in 15 Indian States. ARMMAN will also use the grant to set up a call centre to provide additional help and advice for ASHAs and ANMs where required. Google will also invest in the efforts of Apollo Medskills, the upskilling arm of Apollo Hospitals, to help upskill 20,000 frontline health workers through specialized training in Covid-19 management and strengthen the stressed rural health workforce and rural health systems.

“We are hoping reduce a lot of preventable deaths happening due to unavailability of medical grade oxygen beyond Covid, with the 80 oxygen generation plants especially in the tier-II towns and rural areas. Oxygen therapy is an age-old proven treatment which can prevent deaths. Still worldwide, especially in the low and medium income countries, about 800,00-100,000 people die every year due to lack of access to medical grade oxygen for diseases like pneumonia, malaria, child births etc. A large population of India resides in these rural areas with limited and sporadic access to healthcare,” Atul Satija, CEO, GiveIndia, said at the virtual event.

On the efforts planned to ensure upskilling of healthcare workforce, Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder and Managing Trustee, ARMMAN said “We have a mobile academy platform training ASHA workers across the country. We are adding a Covid-specific chapter to it with assistance from the government of India. The content provided will have a multimedia approach. There will be quizzing at the end and Zoom training sessions for ASHAs and ANMs.” ARMMAN is already working with 9,000 ANMs and 2300 specialists for high-risk pregnancy management in Telangana.

In the past five years, Google,had granted $57 million in funding in India.

“Our focus at Google has been on making sure people have the information and tools they need to stay informed, connected, and safe. We’re now broadening our Covid-19 support to helping strengthen India’s healthcare infrastructure and workforce -- especially in rural areas. With these new commitments, Google is proud to be supporting our partners as they build a bigger, better-equipped healthcare system, to help India steady itself after the second wave, and lay the foundations for a sustainable and future-ready healthcare system,” Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and Vice President, Google India said.

These new commitments are in addition to the $18-million (₹135 crore) funding Google had announced in April for Covid-19 response. These included two grants from Google.org, totalling $2.6 million (₹20 crore) to Give India to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses, and UNICEF to help get urgent medical supplies. In addition to this, Googlers worldwide have donated and helped raise $7 million USD for organizations supporting high-risk and marginalised communities.

Published on June 17, 2021

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