Jharkhand's Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), the biggest government hospital in the state, has raised the issue of non-functional ventilators it received through the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund). The machines received by the hospital are of homegrown brands.
The issue was flagged by Dr Pradip Bhattacharya, head of the Critical Care Unit at RIMS, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's virtual interaction with doctors from across India on Monday, May 17. He briefed the minister about 45 non-functional ventilators out of the 104 they had received.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Bhattacharya said he conveyed his gratitude to Modi for providing RIMS with 100 oxygen concentrators and 100 ventilators and told him about the non-functional ventilators.
Quality Over Quantity
He also suggested prioritising quality over quantity while buying medical equipment and using only high-end products.
Modi was also informed about the lack of technical manpower the state is struggling with. "We lack technicians, and we need three times more than what has been given to us. We need essential medicines on time. We need to make a provision for technicians' staying on the campus because of the oxygen supply system being prone to problems," Bhattacharya suggested during the meeting.
He briefed about the status of the hospital, how it has increased its medical capacity during the second surge of the pandemic. Bhattacharya also introduced a ward-based ICU system to cater to the patients, the media reported.
According to the report, Jharkhand has received 500 ventilators in the first phase and 750 in the second through the PM Cares Fund.
Jharkhand has also been severely hit by the second wave of COVID-19. The worrisome factor is that the recovery rate of the state (80.25 percent) is less than the national average (82.7 percent), whereas the mortality rate is higher than the national rate, with 1.37 percent compared to 1.10 percent.
Cases in the state are growing at a rate of 1.74 percent, higher than the national average of 1.25 percent, as per last week's update.
The state had handled the first COVID wave efficiently, from arranging the return of migrant workers, keeping at par with screening, testing and quarantining, to ensuring strict adherence to social distancing norms. This year, the state health department struggles to keep with the rising number of cases like the rest of the country.
The issue of non-functional ventilators was also raised last week by Punjab. Earlier, the issue had been raised by Rajasthan as well.