Our partner in India - the Lung Care Foundation through our joint Doctors for Clean Air initiative - has been out front in the national media highlighting the added vulnerability of air pollution impacted communities to COVID-19. They have quickly mobilized their expertise and resources, and used their strong foundation on public engagement, to share the implications of the coronavirus especially for individuals living in highly polluted communities.
In 2018 Lung Care Foundation (LCF), in partnership with Health Care Without Harm, launched Doctors for Clean Air (DFCA) in India: a collective of over 40 doctors (Pulmonologists, Surgeons, Pediatricians, Cardiologist, Radiologists, etc.) representing every state of the country to pledge to be Clean Air Champions. This collective of doctors and their state chapters work to support, empower, and educate communities around air pollution and its illeffects on human health.
Doctors and healthcare professionals have seen the impacts of air pollution on human health, and who better to spread awareness and educate communities about the alarming health impacts of air pollution on community health and well-being?
Lung Care Foundation was founded by Dr. Arvind Kumar (Chairman of the Centre for Chest Surgery & Chest Onco-Surgery and Director of the Institute of Robotic Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India), Mr. Rajiv Khurana, Mr. Abhishek Kumar, and Dr. Belal Bin Asaf.
Air pollution, COVID-19 and Doctors for Clean Air
Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, DFCA is using their expertise and platform to warn and educate people living in regions with higher levels of air pollution, about its potential linkages to increased coronavirus vulnerability.
Dr. Arvind Kumar has been outspoken about the need to face COVID-19 head on, to follow the safety measures (quarantine, physical distancing, etc.), and to understand the potential severity of this threat to India. He was quoted recently saying, “Social distancing and lockdowns are
the only answer to contain the virus. A country like India cannot cope with the virus if it spreads to the community.”
This was timely given that soon after, India’s Prime Minister announced a 21 day lockdown of the country as a preventative measure.
News and media channels have been turning to Dr. Kumar for advice, and to learn more about the status and implications of the coronavirus in India.