Chennai

In Kovalam, biryani for vaccines, thanks to Don Bosco alumni

New York- based epidemiologist Dr Rajeev Fernando, alumnus of Don Bosco Egmore  

This Sunday, in Kovalam, people heading to the vaccination centre may get more than their shot — they may get a meal of biryani, sponsored by the local panchayat as part of NGO Chiraj’s vaccination drive. Heading it is New-York based epidemiologist Dr Rajeev Fernando, an alumnus of Don Bosco School, Egmore.

“We will start the incentive model in Kovalam, and then move to Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli, where we are arranging for buses to pick up and drop people getting vaccinated. Our aim is to get 100% vaccinations, even in rural areas,” says Dr Fernando, over a phone call.

Chiraj’s operations are being funded by the 1992 batch of Don Bosco alumni from across the world. The funds have also enabled setting up of a free 14-bed COVID-19 care facility in collaboration with Arun Hospital, Medavakkam. The school’s Egmore premises is home to a 100-bed COVID-19 care centre, an ‘extension centre’ of the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital. “We are in close contact with the Egmore facility, which is supported mostly by the 1991 batch. We direct patients there as and when needed, as we only have the resources to take in people with SpO2 around 90, and no comorbidities.”

Recognising that mental health is an important aspect of the pandemic, the NGO has also set up the Devi Project. “We have two Chennai-based psychologists, who provide women with online counselling in Tamil and English. They have reached out to over 100 women so far,” he says.

The alumni are now collecting donations to expand their 14-bed facility to a 100-bed camp at a Government school.


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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 6:38:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/covid-relief-chennai-don-bosco-alumni-chiraj/article34655995.ece

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