A medic collects swab from the mouth of a woman resident for COVID-19 test in a containment zone at Kurla, Mumbai, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. | PTI
A medic collects swab from the mouth of a woman resident for COVID-19 test in a containment zone at Kurla, Mumbai (representational image) | PTI
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New Delhi: India will get a fresh stock of over three lakh personal protective equipment (PPE) this month, donated by several private players and institutions, ThePrint has learnt.

While a consignment of two lakh PPE kits is on its way from a Singapore-based firm, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Geneva-based humanitarian organisation Red Cross have together donated over 60,000 equipment to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“The regular supply of two lakh PPE will reach India soon. These PPE are manufactured by a firm in Singapore. We have received 50,000 kits from Reliance Industries and 10,000 from the Red Cross,” said a senior official from the health ministry, who did not wished to be named.

Chinese social networking platform TikTok will also donate 70,000 more PPE. The China-based company had earlier donated 1.4 lakh kits, which have cleared the quality tests.

“The company will now be sending 70,000 more PPE which are expected to reach us by 20 April,” the official added.

All equipment received are first quality tested by the government before dispatching to the states for the final usage. “Around 50,000 PPE, which failed the quality tests were part of donations. The company that had donated those kits will now be sending more items, which is an appreciable gesture,” the official said.

According to the ministry’s internal estimates, around 4.66 lakh PPE have been dispatched to states till 6 April. These items are dispatched based on the case load in each state.

Also read: 50 military hospitals prepared for Covid-19, 6 viral testing labs up and running

Shortage of PPE

Voices, especially on social media, have been raised against the shortage of PPE for medical staff fighting the pandemic. Several videos have emerged in social media platforms showing doctors and nurses struggling to perform their duties due to unavailability of PPE kits.

Doctors and nursing staff in states such as Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan were unintentionally exposed to the coronavirus last month due to lack of PPE and masks.

Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi were reportedly using self-made masks, while medical personnel at some mohalla clinics in the capital city had earlier told ThePrint that they had to buy protective gear for themselves and their staff.

At government hospitals in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh and Patna, doctors and medical staff have complained about being given protective kits meant to prevent HIV transmission, instead of those required for Covid-19.

Concerns over shortage of PPE gained urgency after reports came from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and other states of doctors testing positive for the virus and putting thousands of patients at risk.

Nearly 50 healthcare providers across the country have contracted Covid-19 till 2 April, the Union health ministry had earlier said. “These 50 healthcare workers across India include doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff,” according to ministry sources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in his address to the nation last month, said the Centre will provide enough PPE to make sure doctors are not affected by the virus.

“We will make sure that enough protection equipment are provided so that doctors are safe while treating patients. The government will also ensure that training of paramedical staff and nurses is conducted,” he had said.

Also read: 5-day break for staff, proper kits — how Punjab hospital is handling Covid-19 in hotspot 


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