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Jharkhand: 60 ventilators procured under PM CARES fund lie unused, state govt demands more, report says

While the already procured ventilators lie locked in hospital rooms or without oxygen supply, the Jharkhand’s health department has demanded an additional 1,500 ventilators for Covid-19 patients from the Centre.

Jharkhand is one of the six states worst affected by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The state recorded around 4000 new coronavirus cases and 50 deaths in the last 24 hours. Amid the growing cases, 60 ventilators procured from PM Cares Fund lie boxed or covered in cloth in seven districts of the state, as per a Dainik Bhaskar report. 

No less than 12 ventilators are gathering dust at Latehar Sadar Hospital for the past five months. 21 ventilators in Gumla city remain unused due to the unavailability of trained technicians to operate the machine. In a shocking revelation, the ICU at the Bokaro district’s Sadar Hospital was kept locked and opened only on Thursday by the Deputy Superintendent Dr. Renu Bharti to admit a patient. 

9 ventilators in Hazaribagh have simply been installed in Primary Health Centre and Community Health Centres, but lie idle. Similarly, ventilators in Ramgarh, Chatra and Simdega lie unused due to the absence of trained staff. Another 28 ventilators received from NTPC, DMFT and NHRM funds also remain packed.  

It was informed that the ventilators were received in October 2020 in Lahetar but were packed off and locked up in a room. Because of no connection of oxygen pipe, they were just gathering dust since then. The administration is now currently working to fix the oxygen connection.

Out of the 45 ventilators lying unused in Bokaro districts Sadar Hospital, 20 have been sent to different locations while the other 20 have been installed, informed the Deputy Superintendent. The nodal officer at Gumla informed that the ventilators had not been installed due to the unavailability of expert technicians but has assured to get them installed in a day or two.

Jharkhand demands 1500 more ventilators

While the already procured ventilators lie locked in hospital rooms or without oxygen supply, the Jharkhand’s health department has demanded an additional 1,500 ventilators for Covid-19 patients from the Centre.

State health secretary KK Soan wrote to the additional secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Vandana Gurnani, mentioning that as per the current high-growth rate, the state will nearly have 33,000 to 35,000 cases, leading to a high requirement of ventilators by the end of this month. 

Centre assures aid

Owing to the daily surge in new coronavirus cases, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan assured the most impacted states with a fresh supply of ventilators. He informed that 1,121 ventilators will be sent to Maharashtra, 1,700 to Uttar Pradesh, 1,500 to Jharkhand, 1,600 to Gujarat, 152 to Madhya Pradesh, and 230 to Chhattisgarh.

The minister, in a high-level meeting with health ministers of 11 states and union territories to review measures taken to prevent, contain, and manage the fresh surge in covid-19 cases urged the states to plan in advance. He also advised the states to increase covid hospitals, oxygenated beds, and other relevant infrastructure to deal with any further surge in cases.

Ventilators in Punjab remain unused

As per a report, over 250 ventilators were gathering dust in the fag end of March in the Punjab state government’s warehouse amidst the second wave. The reason cited for uninstallation was the lack of competent manpower to efficiently manage patients on ventilators. 

Allegedly this was not the first time when the state hospitals failed to use the ventilators. Five years ago, 10 ventilators were sent to Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, but they remained unused for five years till it turned into a controversy when the pandemic hit. It was then proposed to hand the ventilators over to a local private hospital.

Congress is ruling party in Punjab and in alliance in the Jharkhand government led by Hemant Soren.

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