A Gift from the Frontline

The Covid-19 Practical Handbook was designed to offer advice to volunteers, healthcare workers, families of Covid-19 infected people who are being cared for at home, pregnant women and their families, families of terminally ill patients, foundations, non-profit organizations, and the public.It was put together by 200 volunteers based on first-hand experience from Wuhan, available in 8 languages.

click here to download


You May US interviewed Haiyan Sun, Co-founder & Chief Editor of Business Ecology Studio, volunteer project leader of Covid-19 Practical Handbook, to bring alive the story behind the handbook.

Wuhan – Covid-19 Outbreak
Jan.23, right before the Chinese Spring Festival, Coronavirus broke out in China. Haiyan Sun, Co-founder & Chief Editor of Business Ecology Studio, a long-time volunteer of rescue projects, sensed the urgent needs for masks and PPE. With no hesitation, she started to contact international companies and foundations for funding while translating specifications of masks and PPE. Little did she know that the next 6 weeks she and a team of volunteers would be battling against time to save lives.

Jan.30, as coronavirus quickly developing, Wuhan ran into an urgent situation – hospital ran out of beds and ventilators, and patients had to stay at home. One leader of a disaster-rescue NGO, a Gingko foundation member, quickly started a WeChat group to offer online medical consulting for patients. Soon the WeChat group went viral, many doctors joined to see home-staying patients, answering their questions. But when 2 patients died, the doctors realized this was an unusual virus they were dealing with. They found out if the patients’ blood oxygen content went under 93, they would need oxygen inhalation 24 hours continuously. They should go to the hospital, but there weren’t enough mechanical ventilation available. A 3300 RMB family-use oxygen concentrator could be an effective alternative; it would help prevent the symptoms from getting worse.

Where to find oxygen concentrators?

A Lifeline Supply Chain

The doctors cried for help in the Gingko foundation WeChat group, Haiyan and another 136 NGOs leaders were in the group – “we need oxygen concentrators, we need money!” Haiyan saw the message, based on her years of work experience with businesses, she immediately knew this was a supply chain challenge, and she knew she had to act fast. “Every day, people were dying simply because they had no access to oxygen.” Haiyan threw herself right into the problem solving; there was no time to lose.

Haiyan and her NGO friends reached out to a couple of oxygen concentrator manufacturers for selection, the suppliers had to be trustworthy. While working on sourcing, one CSR manager from a French company saw her actions, she reached out to Haiyan to understand the needs. The next day, the CSR manager talked to the headquarter and got 2 Million RMB approved to purchase oxygen concentrators for China coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, one person in the WeChat group said she knew someone high up in an oxygen concentrator’s company in Jiangsu province, she could help to get a better deal.

Things were coming together, the money, the oxygen concentrators, but how to transfer these machines to Wuhan?

By then, Wuhan had already been closed down. No one in, no one out. The transportation into Wuhan was reduced to 10%, most truck drivers didn’t want to go to Wuhan. Luckily, Haiyan and the Gingko fellows got the timely support from both domestic and international logistic companies. They also came up with advice for these drivers on how to protect themselves from being infected. They told the drivers to wear PPE and what to do when they reached the warehouse in Wuhan.

Deliver Babies, Deliver Oxygen Concentrators
The next puzzle of this supply chain was how to transfer these oxygen concentrators to the patients’ homes.

Even though Wuhan was closed down, but babies still had to be born. From January to the beginning of April, more than 300 babies were born in Wuhan pregnant women supporting Wechat groups. In these WeChat groups which was organized by volunteers, 1300 pregnant ladies got all kinds of care, including medical suggestion and free transportation service when in labor. Therefore, the transportation group was contacted and helped deliver the oxygen concentrators to the patients’ homes.

February 6, in less than a week, the first batch of 50 oxygen concentrators were dispatched to patients’ homes in Wuhan. In the past two weeks, Haiyan’s family didn’t get to talk to her much although everyone were kept at home, she woke up and started to work the whole day. “It feels like racing against Death,” Haiyan said.

The whole project raised around 800 Million RMB, total 2321 oxygen concentrators, 94 sent to patients’ homes, the rest went to hospitals of surrounding cities of Wuhan that were short of ICU facilities. Each oxygen concentrator sent was monitored by Haiyan and the Gingko fellows. They built a map to track all the oxygen concentrators. When they heard the patient situation improved, they all had a smile. “We established 1:1 dialogue with the home patient who received the concentrator. “It felt like each machine we delivered became a little angle.”

By the end of February, the virus in Wuhan was under control.

Second Half of the Battle
Starting of March, Covid-19 spread to the world. It seems to Haiyan and the Gingko partners that the Chinese community in America and Italy had good understanding of the virus, as they have witnessed their family and friends going through this in China. However, the rest of the international community seems to lack the understanding how serious Covid-19 was.
Therefore, Haiyan and the Gingko partners decided to put together this handbook, offering first-hand experience and advice from Wuhan. Wuhan had undergone the sad situation; the experiences and lessons should be learnt and shared.

Without taking much rest, Haiyan and the Gingko fellows started the editing work. They selected more than 200 volunteer translators from 1000 applicants and divided them into 7 groups to complete translations of 7 languages. They also reached out to friends, professors, China consulates over the world, asking them to share this handbook. One professor shared the handbook with the relief consulting team of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What You Can Do to Support This Battle?
Now, You May is sharing this handbook with you. Hope the advice from your grassroots China friends can shed some light on how to cope with Covid-19.

Please share this handbook with your friends, family, organizations, and businesses that might find it useful.

click here to download the handbook

#We are all in this together
You May US