Group of Duke Health providers sends PPE to India as country grapples with COVID-19 crisis

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The images related to COVID-19 coming out of India can be hard to watch.

“It feels very painful. I know a lot of us feel very helpless too,” said Dr. Kuldip Patel with Duke Health.

According to CBS News, scientists believe a fast-moving COVID-19 mutation is fueling the crippling second wave of infections in India.

“Hearing stories from family and friends back home as to how grim the situation is and that it’s getting worse by the day, by the hour, by the minute. People are scared,” said Dr. Madhav Swaminathan.

There are millions of confirmed deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases.

The helpless feeling fueled Swaminathan, who also works at Duke Health, to simply help.

“So, I just started off by sending an email to my department by asking for help saying, ‘hey, I’m going to send PPE and material to folks back in India.’ You can send me PPE, contribute to shipping or you could donate to these particular charities,” he explained.

“I was just amazed by the number of people who came forward and said how can we help,” Swaminathan added.

He said help came from everywhere. Patel didn’t hesitate to help when Swaminathan asked.

“It’s a drop in the bucket of what overall India as a country needs. But we were ready. We got the team together,” Patel said.

The multi-department group put together two shipments of protective gear and equipment and surplus supplies.

The first shipment arrived in New Delhi last week.

“We’ve had some great success with being able to send now seven-plus palettes of various supplies and material to different hospitals,” Patel said.

Swaminathan said he’s continuing to reach out to people in India to figure out the needs so they can collect more equipment to send there.

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