Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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50 military hospitals prepared for Covid-19, 6 viral testing labs up and running

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviews Armed Forces Medical Services’ preparedness to assist civilian authorities in battling the novel coronavirus.

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New Delhi: At least 50 military hospitals across the country have been notified as either dedicated or mixed centres for Covid-19, while six viral testing labs have been set up by the armed forces to cater to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) has also reached out to retired Army Medical Corps (AMC) officers and paramedical staff, who may be requested to volunteer at military hospitals at their current home stations in case the need arises. ThePrint had reported on 28 March that such a list is being created.

Forty-three officers and 990 paramedics have volunteered till date, AFMS Director-General Lt Gen. Anup Banerji said at a press briefing.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday reviewed the functioning of AFMS and its assistance to civilian authorities to contain the spread of Covid-19.

A statement by the defence ministry said on a request received from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, quarantine facilities for civilians were created and are currently functional at six stations, for civilian evacuees from Italy, Iran, China, Malaysia and Japan.

Standby quarantine facilities have also been created at other stations. Starting 1 February, these facilities have housed 1,738 individuals.

Also read: Indian Army has disinfectant drone, UV gun that kills virus in seconds in its Covid arsenal

Viral testing labs set up

Lt Gen. Banerji said six viral testing labs have already been established with the help of the Indian Council of Medical Research, and are functional at various AFMS hospitals.

He added that to cater for isolation and treatment (including ICU-based care) of coronavirus patients, orders have been issued notifying 50 AFMS facilities as dedicated and mixed Covid hospitals.

These hospitals have a combined bed capacity of 9,038, and used to augment state healthcare facilities be if there’s a surge of civilian Covid-19 cases.

Banerji said procurement of essential health equipment such as face masks, sanitisers, personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and ventilators is going on smoothly and at a fast pace.

Training at military hospitals suspended

At this time, training activities have been suspended at AMC Centre & College, Lucknow, and Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune.

Approximately 650 medical officers undergoing post-graduate training at AFMC will be reverted to their units for provision of medical cover, depending on the evolving situation.

In addition, 100 medical officers from recruiting organisations are being detailed to work in hospitals where Covid-19 wards are being established.

Also read: US Navy was quick to fix responsibility for Covid-19 crisis. Indian military can take lessons


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