NEW DELHI: The health ministry on Monday said it has placed orders for 21 lakh personal protection equipment (PPEs) coveralls for medical staff dealing with Covid-19 patients with 11 domestic manufacturers, whereas around 60,000 PPE kits have already been procured and supplied to hospitals and healthcare workers across the country.
In a move to ensure smooth supplies of ventilators and PPEs like masks and coveralls, the government has stepped up efforts to manufacture, procure and boost the supply of such items. This has been part of an ongoing effort after it became apparent that foreign supply was limited. Guidelines were revised in early March and intensive consultations with likely manufacturers were held.
“Domestic manufacturers rose to the occasion and so far 11 manufacturers have cleared quality tests. Orders for 21 lakh PPE coveralls have been placed with them. Currently, they are supplying 6000-7,000 coveralls per day and this is expected to go up to 15,000 per day within the next week. One more manufacturer has qualified today and an order of 5 lakh coveralls has been placed with it,” the ministry said.
Besides, the external affairs ministry (MEA) is also tapping foreign sources like suppliers from Singapore and Korea and is in the process of placing orders, the government said. Similarly, the government has placed orders for masks and ventilators.
For ventilators, the government has placed order for 40,000 machines with Agva Healthcare and Bharat Electronics Limited. Apart from this, orders have been placed with international companies like Hamilton, Mindray and Draeger to supply ventilators. MEA is also approaching suppliers in China for sourcing 10,000 ventilators. The government has identified 14000 ventilators for Covid-19 patients in different hospitals at present, even as it maintains only severe cases would require it.
“Prevention, containment and management of Covid-19 in the country are being monitored at the highest level and various actions have been initiated in collaboration with the states. In order to meet the requirement of PPEs, masks and ventilators, factories producing essential items are working round the clock and ordnance factories are trying to produce personal protection equipment for medical personnel,” the health ministry said.
The government said PPE kits – used by medical personnel working in isolation areas and intensive care units to protect them from acquiring infections – were not being manufactured in the country so far. However, keeping in view the huge demand that has arisen due to Covid-19 management, the government is now taking steps to promote their manufacturing in the country.
This development comes on the backdrop of reports of shortage of such PPEs faced by doctors and healthcare workers across the country.
Currently, 3.34 lakh PPE kits are available in various hospitals across the country.