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Saab joins Team Sweden in helping India combat COVID-19

3 min read

The Swedish industry has joined hands with the Swedish government, businesses and agencies to help India combat the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. To coordinate all the efforts, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce (SCCI) has launched a Covid relief initiative under 'Kraftsamla' (which in Swedish means to join forces).

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"We are working closely with partners in India to get an understanding of what is required on ground. It is heartening to see so many stepping up to the challenge - from government and large companies to individuals, including the Indian diaspora community in Sweden, each contributing to make a difference," said Sweden’s Ambassador Klas Molin.

There are about 220 Swedish companies in India which employ 200,000 people directly and another 2.2 million indirectly.

Saab is among the Swedish companies involved in strengthening and assisting local healthcare systems via support to local hospitals with medical equipment like ventilators, oxygen concentrators among others, setting up of COVID-care facilities, infrastructure and technical know-how.

“In this hour of a severe humanitarian crisis, the Swedish Government and industry are working with the Indian government and implementation partners in India to provide relief and support. We are in constant touch to provide as much assistance as possible to ensure that the partnership between India and Sweden is further strengthened in these times of crisis,” says Saab India Chairman & Managing Director Ola Rignell.

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI), through its relief effort, is supporting livelihoods by enabling grass root organisations to reach out to vulnerable communities of migrant workers, women and children, with food rations and medical support.

Meanwhile, the Sweden India Business Council (SIBC) in Stockholm has initiated a 'Fundraising Covid Relief Campaign for India'. The council is raising awareness and coordinating with Swedish business to fund medical supplies, medical care and support to both urban and rural India. This is being done through well-known NGOs such as Pratham, Doctors Without Borders, the Indian Red Cross Society among others via their Swedish or international partners. As much as USD 5.5 million has been raised outside India so far, according to a report in The Times of India.

Further, Sweden plans to donate 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to India via the UN-backed COVAX, an initiative devised to give countries access to coronavirus vaccines regardless of their wealth. It has already donated 200 oxygen concentrators to India.