Written by: Heidi Cortez, Executive Director
Yesterday I met with our team in India, and it was a heavy meeting. We discussed the massive surge of COVID in the country. Right now, India is experiencing the worst COVID outbreak the world has ever seen. Sick patients are filling up hospitals leading to mass healthcare shortages across the country. People are dying outside of hospitals waiting to get care. It is worse in more impoverished areas where it is difficult for people to lock down and remain isolated.
As I spoke with my team- people I work with regularly- I couldn’t help but tear up at what they are facing. They compared the current situation to being in a war zone- constant sirens, regularly learning about who has passed, mass cremation sites, hospitals filling up with people needing care. The situation in India is dire. So many people are dying. The global community is working to combat this outbreak by sending in oxygen, PPE, and vaccines. As they work to stop the spread, our focus turns towards babies and toddlers.
We provide NightCare in India for the babies and toddlers of sex workers. These babies are susceptible to abuse, neglect, and exploitation at night when their mothers work. NightCare gives them a safe place. Because of the virus surge, we had to suspend NightCare temporarily. But, we will continue to help the babies and toddlers we serve.
This situation is incredibly fluid, and we are constantly assessing what babies and toddlers need most right now. Our ground team is coordinating with our beneficiaries and other organizations to determine the best ways to respond. We do know that as the crisis persists, babies and toddlers will lack necessities. There is concern that as hospitals fill up with COVID patients, there will not be room for expecting mothers and babies needing healthcare. These needs are urgent.
Immediately, we will provide for their basic needs. We will provide diapers, diaper cream, milk, milk supplements, Vitamin C, and sanitizer. Our goal is to keep these babies healthy and safe. We are also assessing the need for baby-specific healthcare and are working with other organizations to implement it.
Our team is meeting regularly to respond to this crisis. Often in humanitarian disasters, babies and toddlers are forgotten. We will not let this happen. We will show up for the world’s most vulnerable babies and toddlers.
You can join us in helping these babies and toddlers HERE.