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Bhumi Pednekar: Heartbreaking to find resources too late

Updated on: 25 April,2021 09:39 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mohar Basu |

Having just recovered from COVID-19, Bhumi Pednekar on kickstarting a community of pandemic warriors to aid patients across India

Bhumi Pednekar: Heartbreaking to find resources too late

Bhumi Pednekar

Barely a week after she has recovered from her own battle with COVID 19, Bhumi Pednekar has kickstarted an online tribe of covid warriors. Using social media to help source - hospital beds, medicines, plasma and oxygen across the country, the actress has been working with a core team of 100 volunteers to reach out to as many patients and their families as possible. When we get on a call with Pednekar, we ask her how is amassing strength so early into her recovery despite battling the dreaded covid fatigue. “We don’t have a choice. Our country is in a state of war. I recently went through a similar experience where I was looking for plasma for my mother. And with all the leads I had, it wasn’t the easiest. We managed after making personal requests to donors, sent over my car. We got lucky honestly. My family fell sick at a time when there was breathing space in the health sector. I started getting requests on social media. I started with sharing requests on social media. 6 days ago I connected with Viraj Ghelani (influencer) and a few more of them who are working pan-India in offering redressal.”

Working a group of 100 comprising students, housewives, employed professionals who are helping out each other in offering leads, the actress says that the team catches up every night to take a lowdown of the day. “The volunteers are working round the clock. I am up till 5 am and start by 9 am everyday but our WhatsApp group never stops working. The number of requests to the resource available is out of proportion. It is heartbreaking and overwhelming when we find resources a few hours later and the person is gone. Verification of data is a big challenge we are facing currently. There are 30 requests for one resource at any given point of time. I want to request people to donate plasma, especially men. Male plasma is more important. Help doesn’t need to be monetary always but contribute in whatever way possible. Spreading the word helps; to finding donors helps. Following COVID appropriate protocols is as important.”

She points out that while there’s a genuine shortage, it’s imperative that citizens refrain from hoarding due to panic. “I recovered at home. Unless oxygen saturation is dropping, one doesn’t need to go to the hospital. Extreme shortness of breath should be the reason due to comorbidities. There is frenzy and people should not hoard because it’s pathetic. Don't keep empty cylinders at home.''

While she promotes the idea of supporting each other as a community, her peers have received significant flak from netizens for being tone deaf, posting pictures of getaways and vacations. Ask her if it infuriates her and she says, “I am not someone who gets into others’ business. Whoever can do whatever just do your bit.”

Bollywood’s best foot forward

. Priyanka Chopra Jonas has been using her social media throughout the week to find hospital beds, plasma, ventilators and even home-cooked meals.

. Sushmita Sen sourced oxygen cylinders for the smaller hospitals in Delhi. After facing issues with delivery, the actor used her social media clout to find transportation.

. Always on the horizon to provide help, Sonu Sood got a critically ill 25-year-old patient airlifted in an ambulance from Nagpur 
to Hyderabad for an emergency ECMO.

. Following in Pednekar’s footsteps, Sonam K Ahuja is using her social media to educate people about Plasma donations, combating the virus and more.

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