Olam pledges medical supplies to tackle Indian coronavirus pandemic

MUMBAI/INDIA - MAY 11, 2020: Migrant workers walk on the highway on their journey back home during a nationwide lockdown to fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Olam International has confirmed it is to work with a wide range of public and private sector groups helping fight India’s battle against Covid-19, supplying crucial medical supplies, writes Neill Barston.

A major spotlight has been placed on the Asian nation in recent weeks, as it struggles to contain a significant coronavirus variant outbreak that has so far claimed a staggering figure of more than 250,000 deaths.

For its part, in Singapore, where Olam, including its cocoa-based division is headquartered, it is partnering with Temasek, Temasek Foundation, Singapore Airlines, SATS, Air India, Kerry Logistics, the Pan IIM Alumni Association and the High Commission of India in Singapore to source and airlift essential medical equipment to meet critical oxygen needs in India.

Since Sunday, May 2, the partners have sent 200 oxygen concentrators, 51,000 oximeters, 825 hospital-grade BiPAP machines and 30 tele-ventilators from Singapore to India, and continue to work towards providing more essential medical supplies to the country.

On the ground in India, Olam continues to work with a coalition of private and public sector partners including the Pune Platform for COVID-19 Response anchored at MCCAI, Singapore High Commission in India, ACT Grants,  Swasth Alliance, Manipal Foundation, HCG, Medanta, local health authorities, various India business groups and many others. Working round-the-clock, the partners have been procuring and distributing medical supplies to hospitals and COVID-19 treatment centres across India in Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Olam and the coalition are continuing to explore additional avenues to extend further support on the ground.

Along with Temasek Foundation and the High Commission of Singapore in India, Olam will also be donating 300 oxygen concentrators directly to the Government of Tamil Nadu for deployment in COVID-19 treatment centres across the state.

A. Shekhar, Executive Director at the Olam Group and CEO of Olam Food Ingredients, said: “We have seen the severe impact this pandemic has had on people and communities across the world, and it is a heartbreaking situation as it now sweeps through India.

“At Olam we are utilising our international supply chains and a network of partners to help provide timely supplies and relief at scale. It is heartening to see the strong groundswell of support from public and private sector organisations across the world, uniting to support India through this very difficult time. We will continue to support relief efforts while ensuring we keep our staff, partners and operations on the ground safe. As it has been said, no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Separately, Olam has also launched a company-wide donation drive to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts in India. These funds collected through contributions from employees will be directed fully towards COVID-19 relief programmes at the local, state or federal level in India.

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