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Bengal doctors complain lack of PPE kits, say given raincoats, sunglasses to look after COVID-19 cases

This comes as the Health Ministry on Monday said that 3.34 lakh personal protection equipment (PPE) coveralls are available with hospitals in the country and another 3 lakh, which have been donated, will be received from abroad by April 4.

SNS | New Delhi |

Doctors from West Bengal have complained that there is no supply of Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) for them to treat Coronavirus patients.

Doctors at North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri have claimed that they have been provided with raincoats, sunglasses and masks made of bedsheets instead of PPEs, laboratory glasses and surgical N95 masks to look after positive cases of coronavirus.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Shahriar Alam, resident doctor, Medicine Department of North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri said: “We met MSVP (medical superintendent cum vice principal) who told us there is no supply of PPEs and a requisition has been sent. We were given raincoats and sunglasses.They told us to wash raincoat and reuse.”

This comes as the Health Ministry on Monday said that 3.34 lakh personal protection equipment (PPE) coveralls are available with hospitals in the country and another 3 lakh, which have been donated, will be received from abroad by April 4.

The ministry also said that 11 domestic producers of PPE coveralls have qualified so far and orders for 21 lakh coveralls have been placed. These are supplying 6,000-7,000 pieces per day and are expected to go up to 15,000 pieces daily by mid-April.

It further said that 10,000 PPE coveralls donated by Red Cross have been received and distributed on Monday.

The Centre has asked automobile manufacturers to use their facilities to make ventilators in order to increase the availability of such machines in view of rise in COVID-19 cases, officials said on Monday.

It also said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will start manufacturing 20,000 N-95 masks daily from next week.

According to the health ministry, over 14,000 existing ventilators are earmarked for COVID-19 patients in various hospitals of the country, while there are 11.95 lakh N-95 masks in stock.

An additional 5 lakh masks have been distributed in the past two days. As many as 1.40 lakh masks were distributed on Monday, it said.

Among the private players, Agva Healthcare in Noida has been given an order to manufacture 10,000 ventilators within a month. Their supplies are expected to commence in the second week of April, the ministry said.

In the meantime, orders have been placed with international companies such as Hamilton, Mindray and Draeger to supply ventilators, it said.

The Ministry of External Affairs is also approaching suppliers in China for sourcing 10,000 ventilators from them, it said in a statement.

A Singapore-based online platform has been identified which can supply 10 lakh PPE kits and an order has been placed through the MEA to procure them. Ten lakh masks would be part of the PPE kits being sourced from Singapore.

Another supplier based in South Korea, which has tie ups with production companies in Vietnam and Turkey has been identified with daily production capacity of over 1 lakh PPE kits. Orders are being placed with this company for supplying 20 lakh PPE kits, the health ministry said.

“Personal protection equipment (PPE) kits are used by medical personnel working in isolation areas and intensive care units to protect them from getting infected. They were not being manufactured in the country.

“With the prospect of huge requirement of PPEs arising in the near future, the Government of India made proactive efforts to promote their manufacturing in the country,” the health ministry said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation last week, had said the Centre will provide enough personal protection equipments (PPE) like gloves, masks in order to make sure that doctors are not affected by the virus. He also said the Centre is raking up training of paramedical staff and nurses to fight the pandemic.