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CHAI’s Response to COVID-19 in 2020

The battle against COVID-19 will be long and hard. With the number of positive cases and resulting deaths rising in India every day, more and more people are in need of support and care. While lockdowns and social distancing measures can flatten the curve of the pandemic, providing social, economic and emotional support to people is essential. In addition, building resilience of the healthcare system to manage the influx of patients is critical.

CHAI is employing a multi-pronged approach and is working with member institutions within its network, other healthcare networks, civil society organisations, and national and state governments. Please find below a snapshot of our initiatives.

Preparedness of member institutions

CHAI’s network of over 3,500 member institutions – one of the largest non-governmental healthcare networks in India – includes more than 500 hospitals and 50,000 beds across the country. CHAI is helping its institutions prepare for this unprecedented health crisis through the following activities:

  • Organising webinars within the network on ‘How to prepare your hospital for COVID-19’
  • Sharing protocols for managing healthcare services during the pandemic for smaller hospitals to adapt and implement

More than 120 member institutions attended the first two webinars. CHAI will organise more webinars, with latest updates, in the next few days.

All COVID-19-related resources are available on CHAI’s website at to ensure easy access for member institutions.

Sourcing equipment, supplies, and funds for hospitals

Like other countries, India is currently facing a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), consumables, drugs and equipment. To address this situation, CHAI is conducting an extensive survey to estimate the capacity of hospitals within its network to provide care to patients, and the materials that they will require over the coming months.

In addition, member institutions are anticipating a significant drop in hospitals’ income due to suspension of their outpatient services and elective procedures. Simultaneously, the hospitals need to expend resources towards COVID-19 preparedness. This will require a certain amount of financial support for the hospitals to continue to function and care for patients.

Once CHAI collates the estimates, it will reach out to its network of vendors and partners to help member institutions in procuring the required drugs, consumables, equipment, and funds.

Online help desk to provide emotional support to the community

A consortium of various organisations, including CHAI, launched a digital platform as a helpline for all COVID-19-related issues. The multi-lingual platform has been actively running for more than a month and currently offers counselling services to anyone with emotional distress or anxiety.

The partners in this initiative include The Project Vision, CHAI, the Sister Doctors Forum of India, TROVA, Vidal Health, Rajagiri Hospital, the Camillian Disaster Services, and CMAI. Billion Lives, a social impact technology company, is providing technical support for the website.

Socio-economic support to the community

Integrity is one of the most sought after core values, particularly in the non-profit sector. Current innovations in technology have brought forth new methods to track transparency and accountability. Towards this, CHAI has introduced a new Geo-Tagging software to monitor and report on the impact of funds received. This software pushes reporting to another level by providing real time data on the status of projects across the nation, and we are very happy to share this online. This data is for the families reached in the current month.

Click here to view real-time data using Geo-Tagging
Click here to see how to navigate through the Geo-Tagging information

As part of the COVID-19 response, CHAI, through the generosity of several funding partners was able to mobilize Rs 1.27 crores(12.74 million) and provided dry food kits to 3250 vulnerable families in 17 states of the country through 56 implementing partners (Click here for details) . In most of these places, CHAI will continue to support these families over the next 6 months. We followed a systematic and transparent process to ensure this.

The Process:

  • Expression of Interest (EoI): CHAI called for an EOI from Member Institutions and existing partners to be able to support these families across states.
  • Selection: 26 implementing partners were selected from 67 applications. For the Lilliane fond project 30 implementing partners were selected from 57 partner organisations using a selection criteria.
  • Orientation: The selected Implementing Partners were oriented on the project through Zoom meetings. This covered selection of vulnerable families, financial procedures, documentation & reporting through geo-tagging.
  • Vendor Selection: Each implementing partner was required to obtain three quotes from local vendors to supply the food kits. Our procurement committee selected the most appropriate vendors and money was transferred directly to the vendors.

The Geo-Tagging software was developed and provided to CHAI free of cost by Mr John Santhosh, a Catholic Technocrat, founder and CEO of BillionLives, a social impact company. We are grateful for his generosity, his social responsibility, and our meaningful ongoing partnership. There is still a great deal of need across the country and we are receiving requests for help regularly. Kindly support our efforts by sharing our work on social media and to all your contacts. If you wish to contribute financially, click here.