Protective gear delivery only after 25 days, govt hospitals told | India News


Government hospitals seeking personal protective equipment (PPE) are being told that it will take a minimum of 25-30 working days for them to be delivered. The Covid-19 emergency procurement cell of HLL Lifecare, the public sector unit acting as the central procurement agency for the government, has told them this is due to short supply of raw materials required to manufacture PPE and the prevailing transportation situation in the lockdown.
For government health facilities grappling with acute shortage of PPE, this cannot be good news. In many places doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are worried and beginning to protest as the shortage is forcing them to work without protective gear.
According to HLL sources, components for PPE kits are made by different manufacturers and supplied erratically as most makers are in the small and medium sector. With just a few designated collection centres where components are assembled into kits, there is further delay in getting them from these centres to where they are needed, said the sources.
The sources said over 80,000 PPE kits have been dispatched and the textile ministry claims that 10 lakh masks have been supplied till now. TOI had reported how the textile ministry has roped in 11 Indian firms to produce PPE suits and two for producing masks, including N95 masks, spread across Gujarat, Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu, surrounding areas of Delhi including Gurgaon and Ghaziabad, as well as in Bangalore and Kolkata. Efforts are on to add more manufacturers in the coming days. Nodal officials from the government have been posted at factories to oversee production and to smooth transport problems. However, according to textile ministry officials, firms have been producing 5,000 protective suits in two days. They hope to push it up to 8,000 per day by March 30.
On March 23, the indent was for 10 lakh protective suits. Even at the optimistic estimate of producing 8,000 PPE suits per day, it would take four months to produce 10 lakh of them.
Perhaps more worrying is the question of whether even the 10 lakh PPE suits will be sufficient.
There are over 250 medical college hospitals across India. At the moment, only a few are being used for Covid patients. If the crisis reaches a stage where the others also need to be pressed in service, even if just 50 medical personnel in each hospitals were to require full PPE suits, it would work out to 12,500 suits per day. People working in two shifts would mean double that number or 25,000 PPE kits per day or 1.75 lakh per week. There are hundreds of government hospitals not attached to medical colleges whose staff too will require not just PPE but lakhs of masks.



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