At the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 in India, the unfortunate surge in cases, fuelled by the highly contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus, resulted in an unprecedented number of people needing hospitalization and oxygen support.
This sudden spike resulted in hospitals across the country being overburdened and underprepared in terms of space, equipment, medicines, resources and staff. This shortage of hospital beds, oxygen support and medical equipment unfortunately resulted in panic, frustration, confusion and despair for the families of the infected.
As a result, the Ford Mobility India team came together to use their resources to support Ford employees and the community. Brett Wheatley, CEO at TransLoc and Vice President Mobility Businesses said, “With prudent planning and reallocation of assets, resources and technology, the India Mobility team has been able to provide timely support to employees, drivers, on-ground staff, as well as for their families and friends. This is one great example of how our team is bringing the Ford+ plan to life and coming together to care for each other during a difficult time.” Here is how the team is providing support:
COVID Emergency Helpline
The Ford Mobility India team recognized that verified and validated information was needed to deliver on the Ford+ plan to care for each other and support Ford employees and their families when they needed it most. The team saw Office Ride, a Ford app-based shared mobility solution for corporate employees in India, as a way they could lend a hand to help.
In mid-May the Office Ride Customer Support Center and back-end teams were repurposed to set up a COVID Emergency Helpline for Ford India employees in Chennai, with the support of Ford HR, CSR and external NGO’s. Soon after the helpline expanded to the rest of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, with plans in place to extend support to Gurgaon, Delhi and NCR regions.
The helpline team, available 24/7 created a real-time source of verified information for employees. Here is how it worked: When a request came in, the team would call all nearby hospitals, oxygen cylinder / concentrator suppliers, or ambulance services to identify availability, and pass on this validated information back to the family – saving crucial time.
Since the launch, the COVID Emergency Helpline has handled 200+ requests and helped identify hospital beds for over 100 patients.
The India Mobility team is also working with local government bodies to support state-wide vaccination efforts. In partnership with the Chennai Corporation, 25 Office Ride vehicles have been provided to support Tamil Nadu Government’s vaccination drive.
Office Ride vehicles are also being used as Mobile Vaccination Vans to help people with disabilities, across 15 corporation zones in Chennai, get access to vaccines. This initiative, in partnership with Rotary District 3232, was recently launched and recognized by Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Dr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, IAS.
Being in the business of moving people and moving goods, the Ford Mobility India team was also exploring ways to provide mobility-based assistance and support.
The team is providing mobility support to fill and refill O2 Cylinders at Govt. Hospitals and clinics, thereby ensuring continuous supply of medical oxygen to patients. The initiative is being expanded to Tier II and Tier III cities where there remains acute oxygen shortage.
In fact, an Office Ride vehicle was custom fit with O2 cylinders and swiftly stationed outside some of the biggest government-run hospitals to provide oxygen support to patients as they waited outside to secure an admission. Another Office Ride vehicle was retrofitted with a medical stretcher, oxygen supply and all necessary medical equipment, and converted into a temporary ambulance to help transport patients.
Speaking about the efforts, R. Mahadevan, country director, Ford Mobility India said "Taking care of each other is a core element of who we are as a company and who we are as people. It's always been a part of the Ford way."