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Converted CPAP machines save lives in India

Irving—With COVID-19 still ravaging rural parts of India, a group of local Indian Americans are doing their part, collecting Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, converting them to ventilators, and then shipping them to India. One of the four collection points for these machines is in Irving.

Sanjay Jupudi, president of a Dallas-based software development companyQentelli, is one of the driving forces behind this effort. They collaborate with the Indian Medical Association, Rotary Club International, and other non-profit organizations to transfer these converted machines into the hands of those who need them most.

“We have close to 110 machines, but most of them have been sent to India,” Jupudi said. “If I keep them, it does not serve the purpose of saving a life.When we get 10 to 20, we send them off to India. We want to reach 1,000 machines.”

Jupudi and the rest of the team started raising funds about two months ago, while the official drive for machines began in early June. The group started a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $50,000 for this philanthropic endeavor. As of July 12, the page had reached nearly $48,000.

“It’s hard for people to think about one problem and donate money,”Judupi said. “But a lot of people have donated, and we’re very happy about it.”

Once the group receives the machines, they are then converted into ventilators by altering one part, a process that takes all of 10 minutes.

“That’s the beauty of this: this replaces a ventilator,” Jupudi said. “Using a ventilator takes not only skill, but the patient is usually unconscious during that time. With this, the patient is wide awake. They can actually watch TV while they’re on a ventilator.

“This is non-invasive. We are focusing on the rural parts of India and very soon will start with other countries too as we have more machines. The rural parts of India and other countries don’t have skilled doctors and this can be administered with a nurse or nurse practitioner.”

This project has also sent other vital life-saving equipment like oxygen concentrators, which are safer and easier to use in a rural area than oxygen tanks; pulse oximeters, a non-invasive way to monitor a patient’s oxygen levels; respirators and personal protection equipment (PPE).

Jupudi estimates thousands of PPE kits have already been sent to India, and they currently have another thousand which are ready to be shipped. He and his partners feel this is the least they could do for their home country, one in which there is one doctor for every 1,500 residents. That’s a bit below the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 1 doctor per 1,000 people.

But in the rural parts of India, that number drops to one doctor for every 10,000 people.

Jupudi is more than happy to help his home country, but to him and his partners this effort boils down to something a bit simpler.

“It comes down to a basic response of the human being to help people who are in need,” Judupi said. “Unfortunately, there is a big [gap] between people who have things and who don’t. We are acting as a bridge.

“We had an older lady who came to a donation place whose husband had passed away, and she was wondering what to do with the machine. She found out about us, and said she was so happy she could give it to someone where it would be put to good use.”

For more information or to donate a CPAP machine, visit https://csr.qentelli.com/defeating-pandemic-with-unity/.