Microsoft mobilizes resources to help Covid respond in India
All over the world, we have seen the heartbreaking images of the impact of Covid-19 in India. The entire country is reeling from the devastating effects of the pandemic. Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected, including their loved ones living abroad. Microsoft has been in India for nearly three decades, and our teams in the country play an important role in the business that extends far beyond the borders of India. We have several thousand employees across 11 locations in India and many more employees in other countries with families in India.
As we witness the impact on friends, colleagues and the community at large, it is clear that we can and must help. We are focused on using our technology, skills, resources and voice to help the global response.
We are working to ensure that we are doing all we can to take care of our employees in India and we are stepping up to help meet the urgent needs of the community at large. This includes daily crisis management team meetings in Redmond and India with teams across the company. These calls allow us to quickly identify areas where Microsoft can help and ensure that we can act quickly to respond.
Over the past month, Microsoft Philanthropies has been in close contact with nonprofit partners and government organizations leading relief efforts in India to understand how we can best help. We believe that a coordinated approach is the best way to help and we work in partnership with humanitarian organizations and other private sector actors.
Here are some examples of actions we are taking.
- Become a founding member of the Global Pandemic Response Working Group: Today, along with a number of other companies, we are helping the US Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable launch the Global Pandemic Response Task Force. It is a public-private partnership to provide India with essential medical supplies, oxygen and other life-saving aids. This effort will focus on India first and then serve as a vehicle to support other countries devastated by Covid-19. Microsoft was one of the first partners to embark on this effort, and Microsoft president Brad Smith sits on the group’s steering committee. We are also working to help lead the CHRO India Task Force Action Group, sharing ideas and best practices for getting support to employees based in India. These intersectoral public-private partnerships are an essential part of an effective response, and we are working to play our part.
- To remedy a severe oxygen shortage: We have already taken two steps to help alleviate the severe oxygen shortage for patients in India. As part of the Global Pandemic Response Task Force, thanks to a significant financial donation from Microsoft Philanthropies, we have partnered with other companies to purchase 1,000 essential ventilators for hospitals in India. Second, as part of the task force, we are working with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and other companies to provide 25,000 oxygen concentrating devices to healthcare facilities in India.
- Support non-profit organizations in India: We have leveraged the generosity of our employees in the United States and around the world through the Microsoft Employee Giving Program. Over the past week this effort has already increased $ 3 million (including Microsoft’s matching contribution) for organizations working on the ground in India, including Oxfam India and UNICEF.
- Provide critical technology and technical support: In addition to essential supplies, we know that technology plays a key role in an effective response to the pandemic. As we have seen in other countries in 2020, there is a great need for technological tools to enable remote working, collaboration and communication between governments and organizations working to respond to the pandemic. We ensure that every commercial and government organization in India has free access to all of the capabilities of Microsoft Teams as they respond to changing conditions on the ground. We have also activated the Microsoft Disaster Response Team to provide technology support to the outbreak response efforts in India, who are in frequent contact with government agencies and first responders in the country to see how we can. help.
- Continue to provide medical assistance: This aid builds on the work of Microsoft Philanthropies over the past year, partnering with nonprofit and government organizations in India to provide humanitarian aid, personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect frontline health workers, high performance test equipment, including a mobile test bus, and research support. We are building on this work to help alleviate food insecurity caused by sudden disruption of livelihoods and we continue to provide medical assistance and PPE.
With the escalation of infections, hospitalizations and deaths reported in several other countries, the crisis is reaching new and critical heights. Microsoft has engaged with other governments and humanitarian organizations to offer our support and we are ready to do more.
Main photograph: FedEx
Tags: COVID-19, disaster response, Global Pandemic Response Task Force, Microsoft Philanthropies