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Donating Oxygen: At A Time When We Can't Step Out, Online Donations And Credit Card Payment Points Help

Donating Oxygen: At A Time When We Can't Step Out, Online Donations And Credit Card Payment Points Help

From May 3, the CRED app will have regular updates on how the partnership with Milaap is deploying oxygen concentrators for hospitals and healthcare non-profits across India.

As we hear the piercing sirens of ambulances every few minutes rushing along with purpose, the scale of the human tragedy as it is unfolding around us can never be too far from the thoughts. Every time a phone rings at home, there is a sense of impalpable trepidation. Could there be bad news after we say hello, that another relative or friend is battling the virus that is the Coronavirus, or COVID-19? Reports of oxygen shortages, social media posts by helpless friends and family desperately searching for oxygen supplies, medicines or treatment at hospitals for their family members and WhatsApp groups often bearing bad news that someone has lost the battle and is no longer amongst us. This is how days pass by, with unflinching and scary regularity. As I happened to open the CRED app on the phone late evening yesterday, something caught my attention. CRED, India’s leading financial technology startup and a popular credit card payment app, has partnered with Milaap, India’s leading healthcare fundraising platform for a cause campaign that allows CRED users to swap CRED coins (you may also think of these as points, for simplicity) for donating oxygen. In the details shared with News18, CRED says that for every donation made by users, Milaap will channel the funds raised to their partners, and will buy as well as deploy oxygen concentrators for hospitals and healthcare non-profits across India. And if you are worried that this will be just another fund which has no transparency, that will not be the case—starting May 3, there will be daily updates published in the CRED app giving you the status of exactly how the oxygen concentrator deployment is happening across India. Now, you have multiple platforms and avenues if you really wish to donate oxygen, with companies, NGOs and platforms in overdrive to help hospitals and healthcare facilities with the severe oxygen and equipment shortage.

Update: Since the Cred initiative caught the attention of many on social media, a lot of other platforms have also rolled out oxygen donation option for their users. India’s leading digital payments platform Paytm now has #OxygenForIndia initiative live, where you can donate any amount to the Paytm Foundation, and they will match that and add the same amount additionally to the kitty. The Paytm Foundation is raising Rs 14 crore to donate Oxygen Concentrators across India. Crowdfunding platform Ketto is also accepting donations to be able to provide oxygen concentrators to hospitals and healthcare facilities across India, and this is run by the NGO Democracy People Foundation. You can donate any amount you wish to, as part of the Mission Oxygen fundraiser. They say that as much as Rs 15 crore have been raised as of April 29 and orders for as many as 3,900 oxygen concentrators have already been placed. Mission Oxygen has also donated Rs 32 lakhs for an oxygen generation plant at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in New Delhi. Smartphone makers OnePlus is working with GiveIndia to raise as much as Rs 1,00,00,000 and help hospitals with oxygen supply and critical protective equipment at a time when India is struggling with the latest COVID-19 wave. Smartphone maker Xiaomi is also working with GiveIndia to raise as much as Rs 1,00,00,000 to help with oxygen cylinders, healthcare supplies, help with vaccination costs, collect funds to start and maintain vaccination centres and supply equipment that is in short supply to hospitals across India.

The advantage of using oxygen concentrators as compared with oxygen cylinders is that these concentrators recycle oxygen directly from the air by taking in ambient air, running it through molecular sieve beds and releasing the nitrogen content back into the air while retaining the separated oxygen. Cylinders, which are already in a severe shortage across India, need to be refilled every time. In many COVID patients, the need for external oxygen support becomes critical because the blood oxygen level often drops, and drastically. While concentrators may not do the job for patients who are in ICU care because of the speed at which oxygen is delivered, these can be lifesavers for those with mild or moderate virus infection, with blood oxygen level of more than 80% or above.

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What the CRED and Milaap partnership does is that it allows users to trade in their CRED points to donate these oxygen concentrators for those who may really need support with every breath they take. Trading in 10,000 CRED coins lets you donate 1,000 litres of oxygen, 25,000 CRED coins gets 2,500 litres of oxygen, 50,000 CRED coins for 5,000 litres, 1,00,000 CRED coins for 10,000 litres and so on. As I saw this, it wasn’t a question of whether I was going to participate or not. It was simply a matter of quickly glancing at how many CRED coins I have, and quickly tapping on ‘Contribute’. I have been using the CRED app for credit card payments for many years, and the points that I have accumulated have just sit there over time, only multiplying with the passing of time. Every rupee paid for credit card bills is worth one CRED coin. I have not really been able to take advantage of the discounts and deals on the CRED store either. The CRED points have just been there, without much real-world purpose. Until now. The thing is, CRED is just one of the apps that is allowing us to contribute and really help out at this time. You can choose any that you may prefer. There is no two ways about it, we are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, even as the healthcare system is loaded completely. And the COVID cases are rising every day, across India. It is heartbreaking to even visualize someone gasping for breath. If CRED coins help save even one life, I’ll donate them any day. Perhaps, you should too. That is the call of these times.

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