EHA is doing all it can to prepare for the potential impact of the Coronavirus in North India. To read about their efforts, scroll down to the stories below. To help EHA purchase needed supplies and equipment during this crisis, you can support them with an online gift, or mail in a check. Click the button below for more information.
May 20, 2020
Dear EHA Supporter,
It has been more than a month since we wrote about EHA’s ministry during the pandemic. Many of you have sent in generous gifts. We know that many face economic challenges so we are especially grateful that you have remembered the poor. Thank you. With the money we received, EHA is giving dry rations and prepared meals for families impoverished by the pandemic. They have purchased masks and PPEs and launched an education campaign teaching villagers about Covid19 and its prevention.
Update on Covid 19, India and EHA.
The number of people with Covid 19 in India has just crossed the 100,000 mark. It thus exceeds the number of cases in Canada and China. It has the dubious distinction of ranking #11 in the world. There are hot spots in major metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, but, thankfully, the number of cases in rural India, where most of the 22 EHA hospitals serve, is small. However, this has started to rise, and experts expect many more as out of work migrant workers return to their villages. The seven EHA hospitals designated by the government as covid centers have seen a few people with the virus. Some suspected cases were referred to covid centers. There is a paucity of masks and PPEs. Our hospitals have been using their creative skills to meet this problem. For instance, nursing students in Makunda have been sewing masks, the orthotics and prosthetic departments in Herbertpur have been designing and preparing PPEs. Education about hand washing and other preventive measures is being disseminated to the general rural population.
Caring for the poor.
We had written earlier about the plight of poor migrant workers. Though some have been transported home by trains, buses and trucks and some have cycled or walked home, and though the country wide shutdown has been partially lifted, the tragedy of the day laborers remains enormous. We are talking about millions of people. Some have stayed on in crowded city slums, without jobs, food or shelter. Others walk, literally hundreds of miles, to their villages. They suffer hunger under the blazing summer sun and dangers from highway traffic (some have been killed by trucks and trains). They sleep in the open along the way. Before they reach home, they may be placed in crowded, unsanitary quarantine camps. Worse still they may act as “silent spreaders” taking the virus into their villages. The suffering is immense. They need food, shelter and essentials such as hygiene kits. EHA is trying to meet the need.
Some EHA hospitals have not been able to pay staff salaries in April. Patients who should access care are not doing so for fear of contracting the virus or because of travel restrictions. Thankfully, with easing of the shutdown, this is being reversed.
All is not doom and gloom however. In the darkest moments we hear stories of empathy, coming from unusual quarters. Businesses, NGOs, churches, ordinary citizens and even some police, have been supplying food. Income supplements are being provided by the government. And of course, EHA staff are going out of their way to mitigate the suffering. Even so, the poorest suffer.
“This too shall pass”.
We are a people of hope. Thought the future is uncertain, we believe that this too, like other plagues and calamities will end. The world’s pre-pandemic way of life characterized by greed, guilty pleasures, cruelty and oppression of the poor need a course correction. God is shaking the earth, the church and all the structures of society. Hopefully, our sufferings will usher in a chastened world, a revived church and the nations flocking to God. This is not a “pie in the sky”. It has happened before. Eighteenth century Britain was a world of debauchery, corruption, slave trading and a reprobate church. The Wesleyan revival brought a reformation not only in religion but in civic life as well. Slavery was abolished, workers’ lives improved, the poor and the orphan were cared for and the welfare state (which we all take for granted today) was established. The church was renewed, the gospel, education, medicine and social reform were taken to far away places. Can this happen again? Certainly! Our prayer is that it will, in Canada and India and the world.
Covid 19 is a call for all of us to slow down, repent, pray and seek God. It is an opportunity to intercede fervently for families, for Canada and the nations. And when you do, say a prayer for India, especially for her poor and for EHA’s ministry. In particular pray fervently that as the migrant population reaches the villages that EHA serves, the virus will not spread. Our hospitals report that they will be overwhelmed and unable to cope because of a lack of ventilators and other essential equipment.
God bless you.
April 8, 2020
Dear EHA Supporter,
As the world struggles with Covid 19 and its fall out, some suffer more than others. This is the case in India. The vast population (1.3 billion), overcrowding, ignorance, poverty, superstition and an inefficient health system are some of the challenges that complicate the situation. A few of our supporters have asked about the situation in India and how they can help. Regarding the pandemic itself, as of now there are about 5000 cases and around 120 deaths. This is expected to get worse. As is the case in many countries, there is a need for ventilators, masks and other basic supplies and equipment. EHA’s 22 hospitals have not yet had any cases, but they are gearing up to take care of people.
There is a further complication adding to the misery. The Government, in its effort to prevent spread, ordered a country wide lockdown. This has been difficult to implement and is hard on millions of poor people. The sprawling cities are filled with people engaged in the “informal economy”. This refers to day labourers who migrate from their villages to the cities to live in squalid slums. With the lockdown, these hapless individuals, now out of work and with no money to survive in the cities, have to go back to their villages. The railway system, which most of them relied, on has been shut down. There are few buses. The only solution is to travel by foot-literally hundreds of miles. It is heart-breaking to see images of thousands of people, some with young children in tow, as they trudge back to their homes in the hinterland. Further, it is hard for them to find food and shelter on the way. EHA, with other agencies is trying to help.
Over its 50 year history, EHA’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has been responding to disasters. Beginning with the Kosovo crisis in 1999, EHA has had experience in 39 disasters. I personally witnessed them in action during the Boxing Day Tsunami that devastated the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2004 and the Gujarat earthquake (2001). We recently raised funds for their work after the Nepal earthquake (2015). With respect to the pandemic, to date EHA is preparing for an expected influx of cases. They are planning strategy in cooperation with other agencies, both governmental and nongovernmental. Staff are being trained as they try to acquire supplies and equipment. They are reaching out to communities to educate them in prevention etc. Food and other necessities are being distributed to the migrants as they head home.
If you are interested to learn about EHA’s strategy for response, here is EHA’s Response plan.
The Christian church has always been in the forefront of relief efforts and health care. In the smallpox and measles epidemics that ravaged Europe in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Christians, risking their very lives, lovingly nursed the sick and the indolent back to health. EHA’s work stands in the line of a long and noble tradition.
This is a time of economic challenges for many of our regular donors. It is of first importance that we look after our families and ourselves. However, if you have the means to help and are moved to do so, please consider a donation. Above all, do remember India, the EHA workers, the poor migrants and the government in your prayers. Thank you for your support. Stay safe.
Covid-19 Updates from EHA Hospitals
- May 27 Update
- Kishanganj Relief Response
- 5.26.20 Sewa Bhawan Hospital
- 5.26.20 Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, operating in disaster-prone areas within India
- Two Personal COVID-19 Stories
- 05.14.20 Update
- 5.9.20 Prem Sewa Hospital
- 5.8.20 Kachhwa Christian Hospital
- 5.8.20 Burrows Memorial Christian Hospital
- 5.6.20 Chinchpada Christian Hospital
- 5.5.20 Duncan Hospital
- 5.5.20 Nav Jivan Hospital
- 5.5.20 Champa Christian Hospital
- 5.5.20 Landour Community Hospital
- 5.5.20 Lakhnadon Christian Hospital
- 5.1.20 Madhipura Christian Hospital
- 4.30.20 EHA’s COVID-19 Response by the Numbers
- 4.28.20 Shalom Aids Hospital
- 4.26.20 Makunda Christian Hospital
- 4.24.20 Burrows Memorial Christian Hospital
- 4.20.20 Herbertpur Christian Hospital
- 4.20.20 Sewa Bhawan Hospital
- 4.20.20 Madhipura Christian Hospital
- 4.17.20 Broadwell Christian Hospital
- 4.17.20 Nav Jivan Hospital
- Covid-19 Response
- 4.16.20 Harriet Benson Memorial Hospital
- 4.13.20 Madhipura Christian Hospital
- 4.6.20 Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, serving North India
- 4.5.20 Madhipura Christian Hospital
- 4.3.20 Sewa Bhawan Hospital
- 4.3.20 Baptist Christian Hospital
- 4.3.20 Chinchpada Christian Hospital
- 4.2.20 Disaster Preparedness and Response
- 4.1.20 Kachhwa Christian Hospital
- 4.1.20 Landour Community Hospital
- 4.1.20 Kachhwa Christian Hospital
- 3.31.20 Burrows Memorial Christian Hospital
- 3.31.20 Update from Harriet Benson Memorial Hospital
- 3.25.20 Corvid 19 and India