>@Suman Kumar / EyeEm/Getty Images
©Suman Kumar / EyeEm/Getty Images

The EIB, through the EIB Institute, has decided to make an immediate €250 000 donation to three NGOs operating in India to help tackle the current devastating COVID-19 crisis in the world’s second most populated country.

The donation will go to Unicef LuxembourgRed Cross International and Malteser International.

Unicef will use the funds to increase access to life-saving oxygen in priority states by purchasing one or more oxygen generation plants to supply hundreds of hospital beds with oxygen and/or to buy PCR testing machines for rapid diagnosis and treatment. An oxygen generation plant can be used for 20 years, ensuring long-term use for life-saving interventions or neonatal care. PCR testing machines have an asset life of ten years and could also be used later for the identification of other potentially deadly and infectious diseases such as HIV, HPV or tuberculosis.

Red Cross International will be able to use the donation towards its programme to provide oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators for branches with clinical capacity as well as to establish emergency operation centres in six states that will be linked with the national emergency operations centre.

The donation will also help reinforce equipped ambulance services, improve blood services and 24/7 helpline services, and step up communication and awareness campaigns to address misinformation on COVID-19 immunisation. Furthermore, the Red Cross will procure and distribute hygiene kits, masks, sanitiser and soap to poorer people and those in need as well as frontline staff and volunteers.

For Malteser International, the donation will support its ongoing activities in Rajasthan to prevent further infections, protecting frontline healthcare and educational staff and enabling the transportation of patients.

The Institute regularly provides grants for disaster relief. In 2020, as part of the EIB Group’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, it coordinated a donation of €1 million. Half of the donation was allocated to NGOs fighting the effects of the pandemic and the other half to well-known EU research institutes active in COVID-19-related research.