#FirstRespondersFirst Partners with Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA, Providing Essential Oxygen Supplies and PPE Materials to Fight COVID-19 in Rural India

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#FirstRespondersFirst Partners with Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA, Providing Essential Oxygen Supplies and PPE Materials to Fight COVID-19 in Rural India

We have partnered with VFF USA and Rural Development Trust to support first respond-ers and bring much-needed assistance to these communities, continuing to support people’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being even after the crisis is no longer in the headlines.

Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) USA received powerful support in its fight against COVID-19 in India with a $25,000 grant from #FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative co-founded by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Thrive Global, and the CAA Foundation.

This grant will ensure a continuous oxygen supply and provide essential protective materials to prevent the coronavirus infection of the health staff in the rural hospitals managed by Rural Development Trust (RDT), VFF USA’s implementing partner in rural India. Specifically, this funding will be used to provide 150 oxygen cylinder refills over 42 days and more than 800 Personal Protective Equipment kits and masks. This support will ensure that the RDT hospitals can continue to effectively treat coronavirus-infected patients and save lives while protecting the hospital personnel carrying out their essential work.

“Tending to the physical and psychological needs of India’s frontline health workers will not only ensure the delivery of quality care to patients, but will also protect the staff from high levels of stress and burnout,” shared Shekhar Saxena, professor of global mental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a subject matter expert for #FirstRespondersFirst.

This first joint project paves the way for a strategic collaboration with #FirstRespondersFirst and its partners, with the aim of supporting RDT hospitals with necessary medical materials, while responding to the physical and psychological needs of the hospital staff who are working tirelessly to save lives.

Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global, a founding partner of #FirstRespondersFirst, shared: “The second wave of COVID-19 has been devastating across India — not only in the largest cities but in rural communities. We have partnered with VFF USA and Rural Development Trust to support first responders and bring much-needed assistance to these communities, continuing to support people’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being even after the crisis is no longer in the headlines. As frontline workers step forward to address India’s public health challenge, it’s essential that we step up our support for them.”

This critical support furthers VFF USA’s “Mission Oxygen” emergency campaign, which is coordinating donations to support RDT hospitals in Anantapur with oxygen supplies and medical materials for COVID-19 patients suffering from the second wave of the coronavirus. The hospitals are fully managed by RDT, which has dedicated all of its efforts and resources to fighting the pandemic, in coordination with the Indian Government. Bathalapalli Hospital was redesignated as a COVID-19 Center in April and its 307 beds are at capacity. Every day, 200 people arrive to the hospital with coronavirus-related symptoms. Currently, 85% of the patients require oxygen supply, and staff need to refill the oxygen tank every other day.

Moncho Ferrer, President of VFF USA Board, believes that “our new strategic alliance with #FirstRespondersFirst will help us significantly improve our efforts in providing critical assistance to all suffering from the second wave of COVID-19 in rural India. Together, we will be able to provide not only essential oxygen supplies and PPE kits for our hospitals, but also materials to improve the mental health and well-being of our frontline workers. Our hospital staff is working tirelessly to provide help to those who need it most. I am pleased that this collaborative effort will also secure necessary assistance to our doctors and nurses who make sacrifices daily to help hundreds of people. VFF USA and #FirstRespondersFirst’s collaboration is a great example of holistic vision of how people, organizations, institutions and companies can achieve the impossible."

About Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA

The Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA is committed to combatting poverty and inequality in rural India. Its goal is to improve the lives of India’s most marginalized groups in order to contribute to a more just and equal society. VFF USA places particular emphasis on assisting the most vulnerable populations: children, women, and people with disabilities, to ensure that development in rural India leaves no one behind. The Foundation uses a holistic approach to implement development programs. Through our local partners, Rural Development Trust, and others, it works with the most deprived communities in rural Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Together with our partners, we develop long-term solutions that contribute to empower communities and improve people’s individual living conditions, promoting social change, dignity and equality.

About #FIRSTRESPONDERSFIRST

#FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Thrive Global, and the CAA Foundation, takes a whole human approach to addressing the needs of frontline workers in order to support their ability to serve on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. #FirstRespondersFirst’s fundraising call to action helps provide essential supplies, protective equipment, accommodations, child care, food, and critical mental health support and resources to this demographically and socially diverse workforce, ranging from minimum-wage hourly workers in home-care settings to social workers, nurses, physicians, and beyond, through its implementing collaborators Americares, Bright Horizons, CORE Response, Direct Relief, Give An Hour, Global Health Corps, Hispanic Federation, IHG Hotels & Resorts, InnerHour, International Rescue Committee, Marriott International, National Black Nurses Association, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Omada Health, Osmosis, Pivot, The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, World Central Kitchen, and You Okay, Doc?. Through strategic partnerships with Johnson & Johnson, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, #FirstRespondersFirst equips first responders with the tools and resources needed to build their resilience and promote positive mental health while also advocating for change at the institutional level in order to ensure organizations prioritize workforce well-being. Powered by Thrive Global's behavior change platform, #FirstRespondersFirst also provides access to Harvard Chan School’s evidence-based content, specifically tailored to this critical workforce, to help improve the physical and mental well-being of healthcare workers. #FirstRespondersFirst is a fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that meets all 20 Better Business Bureau charity standards and carries the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency.

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Andrey Gidaspov
VFF USA
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