Mohammad Javed Khan

The Tuk-tuk Driver Who Turned His Vehicle Into an Ambulance for the Poor Who Are Sick With Coronavirus in India

When Mohammad Javed Khan, driver of a ‘tuk-tuk’, a motorized passenger tricycle, saw people in the Indian city of Bhopal carrying their loved ones sick with coronavirus covid-19, he told himself that he could not sit idly by.

This 34-year-old man sold his wife’s few jewelry and turned his tuk-tuk into a small ambulance, which he equipped with an oxygen tube, an oximeter to measure the level of oxygen in the blood and other medical instruments.

As India suffers from a devastating second wave of the pandemic, people like Khan step forward to help their communities fight the virus.

“A seriously ill person cannot be transported to the hospital without oxygen,” Khan told AFP.

“So, I thought: why not turn my tricycle into an ambulance? It does not have the space of an ambulance, but it could surely save lives, “he said.

“I have seen young people without oxygen struggling (to survive),” he lamented.

Mohammad Javed Khan, an auto rickshaw driver, speaks while waiting for someone in need of his vehicle.

“And when they call the ambulances, they charge between 5,000 and 10,000 rupees (55 to 110 euros, 66 to 132 dollars). How can a poor person afford to pay that? Especially in the midst of this pandemic, in which most people do not have an income, “he continues.

Someone gave him an oxygen tube, someone else gave him an oximeter, and then a doctor taught him how to use these kits to safely locate oxygenated patients while they were transferred to the hospital.

Signs of solidarity

“Numerous people have reached out and helped me with donations and then asked me to continue this action until the pandemic ends,” Khan said.

“It is thanks to the help of so many people that I can do this. I couldn’t have done it alone, on my own, ”he says, happy for the solidarity.

Mohammad Javed Khan turned his motorcycle into an ambulance by fitting an oxygen cylinder with accessories to treat coronavirus patients. (Photo: Gagan Nayar / AFP).

Mohammad Javed Khan turned his motorcycle into an ambulance by fitting an oxygen cylinder with accessories to treat coronavirus patients.

Khan had minor problems with the authorities when police accused him of using his tuk-tuk without an emergency transport permit during confinement in the state of Madhya Pradesh, according to the India Today television network.

But this mishap sparked such outrage, especially on social media, that the police dropped the charges against him and even granted him “special permission.”

The state of Madhya Pradesh, like many others in the huge country of 1.3 billion people, has seen an increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, causing severe shortages of oxygen and other essential medical supplies.

This region, in which one in five people has tested positive for covid-19, reported more than 12,000 new infections on Monday. In this context, crematoriums and cemeteries cannot cope.

India has already exceeded 20 million cases and 222,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to an official balance on Tuesday.

Mohammad Javed Khan turned his motorcycle into an ambulance by fitting an oxygen cylinder with accessories to treat coronavirus patients. (Photo: Gagan Nayar / AFP).

Mohammad Javed Khan turned his motorcycle into an ambulance by fitting an oxygen cylinder with accessories to treat coronavirus patients.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.