NEW DELHI: After fighting with COVID-19 at a city hospital for 10 days, Neelam Rani was finally allowed to leave the facility, but only if her daughter, could arrange oxygen support at home for her recovery.
Short of money and hope, Neelam's daughter Shweta Nagpal contacted all the people who could help, even looked to buy oxygen cylinders but lost the hope to get one for her mother.
But when she came to know about Delhi government's oxygen concentrator bank, her hope revived.
"I called them on the helpline on May 15, and they told us -- bring the patient home the next day and we will deliver the oxygen concentrator," Shweta, a resident of Indira Park in south west Delhi said.
Days after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the launch of an oxygen concentrator bank, a Delhi government official said a total of 351 such machines have been delivered across 11 districts.
Oxygen concentrators have been provided to 44 people in north Delhi, 38 people in southwest Delhi, 52 in west Delhi, 41 in New Delhi, 22 in central Delhi, 33 in northeast Delhi, 32 in south Delhi, 21 in southeast Delhi, 25 in Shahdara, 16 in east Delhi and 27 in northwest Delhi, the official said.
For Shweta's 60-year-old mother, it was a breath of relief, both physically and financially.
"For the last two years, we have been surviving on our savings. In such a condition, it was difficult to manage hospital costs. With the concentrator she is now feeling better," Shweta, who is the sole bread earner of the family of three, said.
Kejriwal had said each district in Delhi will have a stock of 200 concentrators that will be rushed to the doorsteps of the patients requiring oxygen within two hours.
The patients can contact the helpline number -- 1031 -- and oxygen concentrators will be provided free of cost after it is recommended by the doctors, he said.
The family of 70-year-old Sona Devi was also worried when her oxygen level suddenly dropped on May 5 after suffering from COVID-19 since April 22.
Even after spending 12 days in the hospital, the doctors told them she required oxygen support at their home in Shahdara.
"We quickly contacted the helpline and received the oxygen concentrator within a few hours," her grandson Rajesh Bansal said.
"The Delhi government has been very quick and helpful in our situation, the condition is so bad outside. You can't find oxygen cylinders and concentrators on your own," he added.
Delhi Health minister Satyendar Jain had said the COVID patients under home isolation or those discharged from the hospital can avail the facility of the first oxygen concentrator bank in Delhi, after it is prescribed by the doctors.
Oxygen concentrators are portable devices that enrich oxygen content in the air breathed by a person.
Chhatarpur-resident Liyaqat Ali Khan had a similar story to tell.
His brother 53-year-old Mohd Arif Khan was relieved with the government's help.
Now, Arif is breathing easier and maintaining oxygen saturation level above 95 per cent.
"We received the concentrator the same day on May 17 after contacting the helpline. He has been recovering well and thanks to the concentrator, his oxygen level is improving steadily," Liyaqat said.
The oxygen concentrators will be returned after the patients do not need it.
The devices will be sanitised, and given to other patients in need, the Delhi government had said.