Kind man converts rickshaw into ambulance to offer free transport and oxygen...

Kind man converts rickshaw into ambulance to offer free transport and oxygen to Covid-19 patients

It serves its purpose and helps save lives

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Bhopal, India — As coronavirus infections and deaths soar to record daily highs in India, the pandemic has galvanised people who are determined to help others in whatever way they can.

One such person is auto-rickshaw driver Mohammad Javed Khan who sold his wife’s jewellery and converted his three-wheeled vehicle into a small ambulance, fitting it out with an oxygen cylinder, an oximeter to measure oxygen levels in the blood, and other medical supplies.

Mr Khan, 34, felt compelled to help the poor people who could not afford an ambulance to carry their relatives infected with Covid-19 to hospital.

The pandemic has overwhelmed India’s chronically underfunded health care system, leading to dire shortages of hospital beds, vaccines and oxygen, with patients dying outside packed clinics in New Delhi and other densely populated cities.

Mr Khan says that a critically ill patient cannot be taken to hospital without oxygen support. He adds that, though his rickshaw is not as spacious as an ambulance, it serves its purpose and helps save lives.

A donor provided him with an oxygen cylinder, another gave the oximeter, and a doctor taught him how to use the cylinder and oximeter to safely supply the lifesaving gas to patients as he drove them to the hospital.

The World Health Organisation said on Monday (May 10) that the coronavirus variant first identified in India last year was being classified as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.

The B1617 variant is the fourth variant to be designated as being of global concern and requiring heightened tracking and analysis. The others are those first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

There were increasing calls for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lock down the world’s second-most populous country. /TISG

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