India has the second largest population worldwide and is the seventh biggest country on the globe. Despite being the fifth richest country in the world, over 800 million of a population of almost 1.4 billion are considered poor. This means that healthcare facilities are not properly funded to protect people in poverty, resulting in thousands of deaths from curable seasonal illnesses. Similarly, homelessness, inadequate shelter, and the water and hunger crises put communities in vulnerable positions, leaving them susceptible to illness and suffering.
Though the situation is dire all year round, winter in India poses a greater threat of the transmission of diseases such as flu, COVID-19, and pneumonia. Each of these are preventable and treatable illnesses when aided with the correct facilities and medicines. Unfortunately, much of India is not wealthy enough to access both the means of prevention and treatment, causing thousands to suffer and eventually die from these conditions.
Donate to India to Aid COVID-19
India is one of the worst affected countries by the COVID-19 pandemic, with upwards of 34 million cases and over 461,000 deaths. The pandemic meant that an already fragile healthcare system was completely overrun, leaving patients who are unable to breathe without oxygen. Like many viruses, the Coronavirus is much more transmissible in colder temperatures, meaning that the situation is only set to get worse for Indian citizens.
Not only does the contraction of COVID-19 affect people’s health and wellbeing, but it results in the displacement of migrant workers, shortages of medicines, a hit to the education system and economy, the negligence of other diseases, a strain on frontline workers, and much more.
The lockdown resulted in tens of millions of workers losing their jobs, and the hit of winter could quite easily result in another lockdown. Furthermore, India sources around 70% of its pharmaceuticals from China; since nothing could be exported from China at the height of the pandemic, India is still recovering from drug shortages. This puts further strain on the already struggling healthcare systems, leaving thousands without treatment and resulting in more Covid related deaths.
The education system was already fraught ahead of the pandemic, with 25% of Indian children not going to school. Despite this, the children that could previously attend school were prohibited from doing so during the lockdown. The spread of the virus is only set to worsen as winter approaches, meaning that we can’t discount the possibility of another lockdown, hindering children further. Similarly, the impact that COVID-19 has on the economy will leave many parents without work and force children out of education and into child labour.
COVID-19 is not the only illness that is bringing India to its knees, with diseases such as cholera, typhus, dysentery, pneumonia, malaria, and HIV causing millions to suffer and die. Due to the prominence that COVID-19 has in hospitals, these illnesses will often go untreated since the healthcare systems cannot accommodate such a large volume of patients. COVID-19 is not only killing off much of the population, but it is giving other illnesses the ammunition to do so.
By June 2021, 776 doctors in India had died as a result of COVID-19, putting further strain on the dwindling health systems. Though the vaccination programme has minimised the detrimental effects that the Coronavirus has, full protection is not guaranteed, and death is still a possibility. This is particularly true when winter illnesses are in full circulation.
The Effect of Climate Change
In addition to the pandemic, India is under constant threat of natural disasters that are only exacerbated by climate change. Typically, floods will occur in warmer temperatures, yet climate change has meant that weather conditions are unpredictable. Therefore, floods can also occur in winter, and upwards of 70% of India is prone to floods. Similarly, 60% is prone to earthquakes, meaning those already struggling from the threat of winter can be devastated by unpredictable natural disasters.
The Issues with Poverty
Firstly, the crowded conditions of many Indian communities make the transmission of winter illnesses inevitable. Similarly, the lack of access to clean water means that people are unable to wash their hands regularly, contributing to the spread of harmful bacteria. As well as this, families cannot rely on comfortable shelter, nutritious food, ample hydration, and medical treatment to keep illnesses at bay as they can’t afford these basic amenities.
How to Help India
Your donations in India will support Indian’s in tackling the threat of winter. This will go towards creating a better life for Indian families, especially vulnerable children during such a difficult time.
Every winter is detrimental to the people of India, but a winter in the midst of a global pandemic is indescribable. You can donate to both our India and Winter Appeals [link] to ensure that the people of India survive this bitter winter.