Oxfam India and Microsoft joined hands on Tuesday to help strengthen the healthcare ecosystem to address the challenges that have come up with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India and also to prepare for a possible third wave.

The partnership will enable access to critical Covid care health services for 1.5 million people in nine severely affected states -- Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

"India is facing an unprecedented crisis as the pandemic is leaving a trail of devastation and tragedy of unimaginable proportion. Though the health system is overwhelmed, the medical community (including doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital support staff) continues to play a stellar role," said Amitabh Behar, CEO, Oxfam India.

"We as citizens of this country must come forward to support the battle against Covid-19 in whatever way we can. Oxfam India is happy to partner with Microsoft to provide relief to the most marginalised people during this crisis," Behar added.

As part of the initiative, Oxfam India will set up three pressure swing adsorption (PSA) technology-based oxygen plants at district and block level hospitals in rural Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.

The organisation will also strengthen the existing capacities of 12 hospitals with O2/ICU beds and essential life-saving medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, patient monitoring units, BiPAP machines and nasal masks in Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Essential Covid care medical equipment will be provided to 200 government hospitals, primary healthcare centres, and charitable hospitals in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The initiative will also train 10,000 frontline health workers on Covid protocols and equip them with essential Covid care kits, enabling them to serve their communities in Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

"Through our partnership with Oxfam India, we are focused on using our technology, skills, resources, and voice to intensify support for severely affected rural parts. We believe a collaborative approach is the best way and will continue to work closely with government and nonprofit partners to accelerate response," said Manju Dhasmana, Director, Corporate Affairs (CSR/Philanthropies), Microsoft India.