Shell India brings to us the inspiring story of Dr Marcus Ranney and Dr Raina Ranney, whose grit and determination is testament to the fact that #GreatThingsHappenWhenWeMove. Article sponsored by Shell.
During this pandemic, people all over the world are having to struggle for basic facilities, vaccines, medical assistance or jobs. However, despite the chaos, this adversity has somehow managed to bring out the best in some people, transforming ordinary citizens into brave COVID warriors.
Mumbai-based doctor couple, Dr Raina Ranney and Dr Marcus Ranney, are two such individuals who decided to create a unique COVID-relief platform that allows anyone to become a changemaker.
“Especially after the first wave of the pandemic, people realised the need to step up and help each other. Most want to help but don’t know how. So, our initiative gave them that opportunity whereby they can save a life by donating leftover COVID-19 medicines,” says Dr Raina, who along with her husband Dr Marcus started Meds For More on 1 May 2021.
The idea behind this initiative was to collect leftover medicines from people to donate it to the underprivileged. On a larger scale, this involved collecting medicines from cities that have better access and affordability, and distributing them in remote rural areas that are grappling to access even basic facilities.
Being frontline workers right from the first wave as they initiated COVID relief efforts in the slums of Mumbai, Dr Marcus had witnessed the harrowing reality of lack of access to basic facilities among the underprivileged communities. This realisation strengthened and forced them into action.
“One of our domestic worker’s sons was diagnosed with COVID-19 and we were wondering about ways to help them. That is when my wife and I began talking about how expensive these medicines are and how much of it gets wasted after recovery. I remembered that in my own apartment building there were around three COVID-19 patients who had just recovered. So I dropped a text on the building WhatsApp group to ask people to donate their unused medicines to those who might not be able to afford it. This is how we started our journey with Meds For More,” shares Dr Marcus.
The initiative started with reaching out to 45 buildings in their housing society and coordinating collection. Each building had an ambassador who collected the leftover medicines from each family. The duo would then collect all the medicines from them, check its quality and travel to NGOs to donate them.
In the very first week, they managed to collect 20 kgs of medicines from a single housing society.
“Initially, we had to streamline our process, we met with each NGO and dropped off the medicines, visited a community centre and donated medicines in a slum in Ambedkar nagar, Mumbai,” Dr Raina says.
At the nascent stage, although most of the operations were handled by the two, with time the need for expansion to other cities pushed them to consider getting volunteers on board.
In order to scale up they needed to involve volunteers and today, Meds For More is supported by almost thousands of volunteers from across India helping in the process of collection, quality check, segregation to delivery.
Explaining the process, they add that people interested in donating the medicines can do so by visiting the website to find the nearest collection centre. The medicines are then collected by a designated NGO once a week, where they are checked for expiry and segregated. The medicines are then sent to the health centres where doctors give them away free of cost.
From one housing society in Mumbai to 12 cities across India, Meds For More has collected over 1,000 kgs of medicine impacting the lives of at least 1 lakh people during the pandemic.
Through their campaign, ‘Great Things Happen When We Move’, Shell aims to celebrate the indomitable spirit, dreams and aspirations of Indians like Dr Raina and Dr Marcus. The campaign is about people who display unconquerable courage and motivation to realise their ambitions by doing one simple thing — move forward. The core assertion of stories, like this couple’s, is to establish that mobility is a key enabler of people’s progress.