India recently witnessed a massive second wave of COVID-19, causing an acute shortage of critical medical supplies, particularly oxygen, with demand outstripping existing stockpiles in many parts of the country. In April, oxygen demand reached up to about 8,000 tonnes a day.
So energy company ExxonMobil has stepped up to support India’s fight against COVID-19 and relieve some of the pressure on the healthcare system.
ExxonMobil has joined hands with leading non-profit organisations like United Way and Samarthanam to donate essential supplies and provide COVID-19 aid in major cities, such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi.
“At a time like this, we need all the support we can get. We are thankful to our long-term donor ExxonMobil for stepping up once again and helping the needy during these challenging times,” said Rajesh Krishnan, Executive Director, United Way of Bengaluru.
ExxonMobil is helping to set up an oxygen-generation plant at the Bangalore Medical College to meet the increasing demand for clean oxygen; more than half of all COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in the second wave have required extensive oxygen support.
“This second wave has had a big impact, so we are focusing on helping our communities in all possible ways,” said Naveen Shukla, ExxonMobil Services and Technology Bengaluru director.
“Giving back to people has always been a priority, and that’s what we are doing now.”
This oxygen-generation plant can produce about 800 litres of high-purity oxygen a minute, supporting nearly 80 people needing oxygen at any given time.
Additionally, ExxonMobil has also donated BiPAP machines and oxygen concentrators to hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. These machines together help pump oxygen into the lungs and airways of those affected with COVID-19, opening the lungs with air pressure to provide concentrated oxygen.
“Oxygen has emerged as the most critical need during the second wave. That’s why we decided to focus on boosting its availability,” ExxonMobil Company India, Bengaluru director Shyamangi Mitra said, adding “Last year also, we had acted promptly to provide medical supplies for our frontline workers.”
This new second COVID-19 wave also saw a huge number of people needing intensive care support. To help overcome a shortage of intensive care beds, company is setting up modular, mobile intensive care units (ICUs) in Bengaluru. It has already set up an ICU unit at the General Hospital in Jayanagar.
Fully portable, and also able to convert into primary healthcare centres in rural areas , each of these units can provide critical care to five people at a time.
ExxonMobil is helping in other ways, too. A major supplier of LNG to India, the energy major has been working to innovate flexible energy solutions for the country leveraging technology.
As the second wave was peaking in India, ExxonMobil supported Chart Industries to repurpose ISO containers ready for its virtual pipeline project to instead carry much-needed oxygen to hospitals.