Locally made ventilators strengthening Indian hospitals in COVID-19 management

NEW DELHI, May 13 – The Indian government today said it has been supporting the efforts of states, union territories and central hospitals with medical supplies including ventilators for the effective management of COVID-19 patients under its “Whole of Government” approach since last year.

Responding to local media reports that ventilators supplied by the government (supported by PM CARES) to GGS Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot in Punjab were lying unused as a result of technical glitches that have not been resolved due to poor after-sales support by the manufacturers, the government said the reports were unfounded, not having the full information on the matter.

A statement issued by the Press Information Bureau of India, said the Union Government has been centrally procuring and providing States/UTs/Central Hospitals/ Institutes with the essential medical devices including ventilators since April 2020.

“Ventilators were available in very limited numbers in Government Hospitals across the country at the beginning of the pandemic last year. Moreover, very limited manufacturing of ventilators was taking place in the country and most of the suppliers abroad were not in a position to make supplies of ventilators in large quantities to India. That is when the local manufacturers were encouraged to produce “Make in India” Ventilators to address the huge projected demand of the country and orders placed on them.

“Many of them were first time manufacturers of the ventilators. The ventilator models went through rigorous screening, technical demonstration and clinical validation process in the very limited time available for the same, through domain knowledge experts, and after their approval, these were put into supplies.”

It said a few States which have received the ventilators, were also yet to get these installed in their hospitals, adding that these hospitals had been requested to get the installation expedited so that the ventilators can be put to optimal use.

On the claims of faulty ventilators, the statement said: “BEL has informed that bulk of the ventilators at GGS Medical College Hospital (GGSMCH), Faridkot are not faulty, as are being reported in a section of the media. Their engineers have visited the said Medical College on different occasions in the past to address the complaints received and carried out minor repairs required promptly. They have even conducted repeated demonstrations of the functioning of the ventilators to the staff over there.

“It was observed that there are issues / problems with the infrastructure in GGSMCH including non availability of required pressure in the central oxygen gas pipelines. Further, the consumables like flow sensors, bacteria filters and HME filters are not being changed by the hospital authorities as per the prescribed norms, or the ventilators are being used without these important consumable items. Maintenance of correct gas pressures (difference between air pressure and oxygen pressure cannot be more than 10 PSI) and use of proper consumables are essential requirements, without which performance of CV200 ventilators is not guaranteed.”

The statement also said that BEL engineers had visited GGSMCH again on Wednesday and made five ventilators functional only by replacing a few consumables and demonstrated their optimum performance to the GGSMCH authorities, thereby, further making it evident that when operated properly, the ventilators will provide reliable performance.

It also added that some of the hospitals were not following all the given instructions and were instead, raising the issue of ventilators being non functional without any basis.

Meanwhile, BEL is expected to continue to provide all the technical support required by the State.

On May 12, India reported for the second day a dip in its COVID-19 cases.

Total active cases decreased to 37,04,099, comprising 15.87 percent of the country’s total positive cases.

It also saw a decline of 11,122 cases in active caseload, a second day of decline in cases from May 11.

Recoveries stood at 1,93,82,642 on May 12 with a national recovery rate of 83.04 percent.

A total of 9,200 Oxygen Concentrators, 5,243 Oxygen Cylinders, 19 Oxygen Generation Plants, 5,913ventilators/ Bi PAP and ~3.44LRemdesivir vials received as part of global aid to India have been delivered/ dispatched to States and UTs to strengthen and supplement their COVID response, so far, the statement said, adding that the Indian government was ensuring a streamlined and fast delivery of the global aid to States and UTs through faster custom clearances, and use of air and road.

So far more than 170 million Indians have also been vaccinated and the drive is expected to continue agressively.