Amid Surge in Demand for Ventilators Due to Covid-19, 20k to 30k Remain Dysfunctional: Report

At a time when countries all over the globe are importing and ramping up domestic production of ventilators, between 20,000 and 30,000 of the life-saving medical equipment may be lying dysfunctional across the country, in both public and private sector hospitals.

According to a report in Indian Express, the issue was figured during a meeting of the empowered group of officers on Wednesday chaired by the NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

“Nearly 20,000 to 30,000 ventilators are currently not operational in different parts of India due to lack of servicing and non-availability of components. NITI Aayog will share the relevant information of these ventilators with CII and coordinate with state governments to re-operationalise them,” an official who did not want to be named was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

The source said that The CII will coordinate with ventilator manufacturers and service companies and implement the re-operationalisation process.

CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee told The Indian Express: “Ventilators presently in India are manufactured by small manufacturers. We have created a coalition between the manufactures and large companies so that supply can be ramped up. We are also looking at scale and how we can scale things up for manufacturing ventilators.

“We are looking at defence, automobile manufactures, and big companies that can do contract manufacturing and scale up the production level.”

The report said officers informed the industry representatives that the government has already placed orders for procuring 50,000 ventilators.

It is learnt that issue of augmenting the supply of COVID-19 diagnostic kits was also discussed. “Key industry leaders highlighted that the current estimate of the requirement of 16 lakh testing kits by June 2020 is a low number,” said the report.

Representatives of industry are also learnt to have drawn the government’s attention towards difficulties in import of components required for manufacturing of diagnostic kits domestically.

The group on coordinating with private sector, NGOs and international organisations headed by Kant comprises six other members: Principal Scientific Advisor Dr Vijayaraghavan, NDMA member Kamal Kishore, CBIC member Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar, Additional Secretary (Home) Anil Malik, Joint Secretary in PMO Gopal Baglay, and Deputy Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Tina Soni.