State asks for more protection gears, ventilators

50,000 personal protection equipment, 50 ventilators, N-95 masks needed: Hek

SHILLONG: The state government has sought 50,000 personal protection equipment (PPE), 50 ventilators and more N-95 masks from the Centre for the state to be fully equipped in its fight against COVID-19.
In a letter to the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Department, Harsh Vardhan, the state Health Minister, AL Hek, cited the deficiencies the state is faced with and requested the Ministry to help plug the gap for the state to be prepared to tackle the disease.
Hek said that the state has about 25,000 PPE and another 50,000 would be required. Pointing out that on an average, a 25-bed isolation ward would require around 75 PPEs a day, Hek said, “We are trying to reach a capacity of over 1000 beds for which we require at least 65,000 PPEs for a period of three weeks.”
“In addition to that we may also require PPEs for ambulance drivers and ground level workers which would make it up to 75,000 PPEs,” he added.
Stating that there are no factories producing PPEs in the region and the entire supply is dependent upon Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and some other states, Hek said, “There is also a feedback that many states are informally issuing moratorium to the manufacturers to prioritise production for their respective states”.
“Supply of these materials in a constant manner is imperative. HLL may be told to prioritise the supply to the State for which we have placed orders for about 50,000 PPEs,” he added.
Informing that there is an acute shortage of N-95 masks in the country and sourcing and availability has become a major concern, Hek said, “If such crucial materials’ availability could be centrally known to the state that would go a long way in dealing with the pandemic”.
On the need for providing additional ventilators, Hek stated that the state would be able to source up to 70 ventilators only in the coming weeks and there would be at least 9 out of 11 districts in the state that would still not have a ventilator.
“We are unable to source adequate ventilators at our level. I request the Union government to help in procuring 50 numbers of additional ventilators for various hospitals of the state,” he added.
He said it would help if there is a nodal person for a state designated at the central level to coordinate air transport.
Lauding the efforts of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Hek, however, pointed out that the state with just one lab for testing is dependent on them for reagents.
“A single point of contact from the organisation would be important to keep the labs running. If any contact has been appointed, sharing of details would also be very helpful”, he added.
Hek also drew the attention of the Ministry towards the possibility of funding the information and broadcasting wings of the state.
“IEC component of NHM could be strengthened through additional funding at this moment,” he suggested.
He also mentioned that the state is in dire need of ambulances for transportation of patients especially the COVID-19 affected.

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