By SHRI RAM SHAW
New Delhi/Chicago (US), 12 May: ‘‘Messiah usi ko toh kahte hain hum/ Khushi baant le le jo auron ke ghum.’’ At a time when the whole of the World is grappling with the global pandemic COVID-19, the US-based female doctors with roots from South East Asia, as is their culture and tradition to do humanitarian work wherever they are, are doing what many of their contemporaries can only think of in one of the severely affected countries i.e. India. They are turning out to be messiahs for the covid affected and frontline warriors who are risking their own lives every day to save others’ lives.
They are now a group of 7,000 driven and “entrepreneurial” female physicians stepped up to galvanize the community and deliver a timely service to those impacted by Covid-19. The unending visuals on television, the barrage of news and conversations, and seeing people, close friends and family directly affected stirred something in them to act. And, thus they formed a group of US/Canadian licensed female physicians called Desi Physician Moms Foundation (DPMF), a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization which has taken prompt action in response to the covid crisis severely affecting India.
“It started with only 10-15 ‘Physician Moms’ in 2015 and now it has added many feathers in its cap since. Our women physicians are from India/diaspora, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan as well as members from the Caribbean whose ancestral roots are in India. We are of all religions and come together with our four pillars of Selflessness, Sisterhood, Unity, and Community, in other words, everything Desi from the heart,” said Dr. Vidya R. Bansal, executive director/founder of Desi Physician Moms Foundation.
Dr. Bansal played a pivotal role in the service of humanity. “Being an action-oriented person, I wanted to do something. I also knew deep within that those in my network and community will back me fully. Galvanizing the community to rally around an issue is something that comes naturally to me,” she said about the motivation to launch DPM.
“We are aware that hospitals are overwhelmed, as doctors and patients are turning to social media to beg for oxygen, medication, equipment, supplies, beds and telemedicine help. Our 10 volunteer board members located throughout the US are working tirelessly 24 hours a day carrying out the tasks involved in fundraising as well as arranging purchase, shipping, and distribution of oxygen concentrators, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies in India,” Dr. Bansal added.
“DPM Operation O2” has raised over $300,000 in less than two weeks, with a goal of $500,000. DPM Foundation, headquartered in Nashville TN, consists of women physicians who have listened to the needs and issues on the ground and have responded to the urgency in a way only fellow physicians can truly understand,” said Dr. Milli Jain, a founding member of DPM told this journalist over phone from Chicago.
Talking about generating revenues, Dr. Milli said, “DPMF has taken upon its own to not only raise these funds but also work on the logistics of medical supplies and 220V equipment such as oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, BiPap machines, ventilators, ICU beds, PPE, and other supplies going directly to our physician contacts on the ground as well as hospitals in India who are in desperate need in cities and rural areas.”
“BiPaps have already been delivered to LLR Hospital, GSVM Medical College in Kanpur. We are in the process to send supplies such as BiPaps, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, oximeters and PPE to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Haryana, Jammu, Srinagar, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Gwalior, Vishakhapatnam, Mandya, Karnataka and Bhubaneswar,” she added.
Dr. Milli further said, “There is an additional positive impact here, not by chance but by design. This is a moment for our community to come together and join hands. People are hurting out there and those who have the opportunity to play to their strengths and provide support must rise now.”
“It is overwhelming to see the energy and positivity in the team,” said Dr. Juhi Jain, another DPM Board member from Texas adding, “It is also a reality that many in our society, family members and friends are getting affected. It has been great to be connected with so many thoughtful people who are giving spontaneously.”
Dr. Milli said, “We are working at the grass-root level to raise funds to send supplies to India for Covid relief. We are taking every possible care to set up a doctor-to-doctor chain to achieve an efficient supply, transparent handling of money and quality supply at the grass-root level. We humbly request people to donate at www.DPMFoundation.org.”
“We are in this together and together as a team we can make things happen. Over the past few weeks, we have enthusiastically and successfully with the help of doctors, hospital staff, nurses, delivery workers and each one of our donors (big or small) and supporters have tried to fulfil our mission to take care of covid affected people and front liners. This whole purpose is to ignite some spark so that the community can come together, because we are all in this together,” Dr. Juhi Jain concluded. Buoyed by the support and enthusiasm, Dr. Milli and Dr. Juhi are determined to keep the momentum going as long as the need is out there.