COVID 19 – The sweet and bitter truths

With the onslaught of Covid 19 and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, normal life went for a complete toss in the first half of 2020. The emergency protocol along with the ravaging virus brought about immense discontent and dismay in various spheres. Innumerable people lost their jobs, many survived on reduced salaries, businesses nosedived, health issues other than Covid 19 remained unattended, mental health issues spiked up, and many lost their lives to Covid 19.

India being home to the world’s 2nd largest population living with HIV, faced a major jolt as the Covid 19 pandemic threw up grave challenges and threatened the achievements of HIV and TB responses in the country. The already immunocompromised community’s plight turned worse with people having to combat HIV and the easy probability of getting infected by the deadly Covid 19.

Stigma and discrimination centering around the lives of HIV survivors looms large; and regular medication being indispensable, the national lockdown made it impossible for this key population to have proper access to the Antiretroviral Therapy Centers (ARTC) and Care & Support Centers. Alliance India’s Outreach Workers (ORWs) did a brilliant job of collecting medicines from the respective centres, travelling all the way and getting these dropped at the respective doorsteps. They even carried foodstuffs for survival where the stocks were exhausted.

Our fundraisers played a pivotal role in maintaining the inflow of funds even in the midst of extreme conditions. Some of our ORWs and on-field fundraisers even contracted the virus, got well and sprang into action immediately after. A special mention is required, to also thank and appreciate all our donors who kept supporting and motivating us for our work. Some of them even donated more than usual, thus rekindling the ray of hope, that generosity, selflessness and humanity has and will always win over adversities.

In March 2020, when life was gradually coming to a standstill, a generous donor (name withheld for privacy) from Bangalore immediately supported to enable emergency response, improve treatment adherence & reduce related co-infections like TB, Hepatitis B & others.

Another supporter from Delhi, in addition to supporting an HIV survivor pregnant mother & protecting her newborn child from contracting the virus; has expressed his willingness to work voluntarily for the organisation. A supporter from Bangalore is serving his notice period at his workplace (retrenchment due to Covid 19), not even sure of his future career graph, he still wants to support our cause. An 86-year-old pensioner and a heart patient from Delhi looks forward to supporting, whenever he feels comfortable. It is so apparent from the above that a true understanding of an issue does make a human compassionate and feel genuinely.

Each member of the Alliance India team has touched and impacted the lives of the key population, in his/her own way, and proved that ‘there is a light at the end of every tunnel. Some tunnels just happen to be longer than others’ (quote by Ada Adams).

~ Written by Sharmistha Ghosh, Consultant: Donor Relations

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