27 May


Sailors’ Society launches Covid care package for 25,000 Indian seafarers and families

27 May, 2021

Thousands of Indian seafarers and their families are to receive a Covid medical kit and access to a paramedic-led helpline, thanks to international maritime charity Sailors’ Society and a grant of nearly £160,000 from the Seafarers’ International Relief Fund.

Around 25,000 seafarers and family members in 10 port cities will benefit from the first roll-out of the project, set up in response to the latest deadly wave of coronavirus in India.

Each kit will contain enough basic medicine and vitamins for a family of five, a digital thermometer, a pulse oximeter for monitoring oxygen levels, face masks, hand sanitiser and an information leaflet. If they are worried that they have contracted Covid-19, they can call the helpline for professional advice from paramedics or trained operators.

Sailors’ Society CEO Sara Baade said, “During this devastating latest Covid wave in India, we’ve been particularly concerned for the health of seafaring communities, many of which have a real need for basic medical equipment, medicines and information about how to recognise and respond to Covid symptoms.

“Preventative support is crucial at the moment to ensure the already overcrowded hospitals are not totally overwhelmed, so we are delighted to be able to provide these kits to seafarers and their families and very grateful to the Seafarers’ International Relief Fund for funding the initial roll-out.”

The Seafarers’ Charity also donated to the project from its Covid fund.

The kits have been developed by Sailors’ Society partner Volunteer Health Services non-profit hospital in the Indian city of Chennai, and will be distributed with help from VHS and Yenepoya Medical College Hospital. Recipients will need to provide proof that they are from a seafaring family in order to receive the kits.

The initial provision of 5,000 kits will be distributed in cities with high volumes of seafarers, nine of which are in mainland India and the last, Port Blair, is capital of the remote Andaman Islands.

Last year, Sailors’ Society and VHS provided vital medication to 450 seafarers – most of whom had suspected coronavirus – who were stranded on ships off the coast of Port Blair.

“This is an incredible first step to protecting seafaring communities during this terrible time, but we know the need is much greater, so we have designed this project to be easy to scale up,” Sara added.

“We’re looking for more funders, so if your organisation is able to help, please get in touch with us – you could save seafarers’ lives.”

The Seafarers’ International Relief Fund is an emergency fund coordinated by The Seafarers’ Charity, working in collaboration with the International Chamber of Shipping, and is supported by Sailors’ Society, the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA), International Seafarers’ Welfare & Assistance Network (ISWAN), Stella Maris and The Mission to Seafarers and other charities.

The 10 cities where the kits will initially be rolled out are: Port Blair, Kasarogod, Chennai, Kolkata, Mangalore, Goa, Tuticorin, Cuddalore, Pondicherry and Bhubaneshwar.

The Seafarers’ International Relief Fund has provided a grant of £159,350 to the project. The Seafarers’ Charity also donated to the project from its Covid fund.

In the grip of this pandemic, your support is more vital than ever to help meet seafarers’ desperate, growing need. Please help seafarers in need at this terrible time. Donate today at: sailors-society.org/give

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