Denying reports that the ventilators developed by a Rajkot-based firm “had failed”, the Gujarat government has said that the device would be upgraded with a compressor, mixer, humidifier and calibration. Around 1,000 Dhaman-1 ventilators manufactured by Rajkot-based Jyoti CNC were provided free of cost to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital last month.
Reports alleged that what Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had inaugurated “as ventilators, were artificial manual breathing devices”.
A month after the ventilators were provided, Ahmedabad Civil Hospital medical superintendent JV Modi is learnt to have written to the managing director of Gujarat Medical Services Corporation Ltd (GMSCL), seeking 50 high-end ICU ventilators for its 1,200-bed Covid hospital. Authorities in the hospital said the Dhaman-1 ventilators were not “giving desired results”.
On Monday, a government statement quoted officer on special duty of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, Dr MM Prabhakar, as saying, “For the treatment of Covid-19 patients, indigenous ventilator Dhaman-1 and state-of-the-art high-end ventilators are highly useful. With increasing number of patients, there is need of more ventilators.”
In defence of the product, Principal Health Secretary Jayanti Ravi on Sunday said that the Centre contacted the company to work out if Dhaman could be supplied to other states. She said, “Europe, US and cities with all facilities… even they are running out of ventilators… all over India, there is a shortage of ventilators. In such a situation, a distinguished manufacturer here took an initiative where they took the fabrication challenge and till date, donated 1,000 ventilators free of cost to the state government.”
“Quality parameters were tested and approved by the EQDC (Electronics &Quality Development Centre) in Gandhinagar. The medicine and anaesthesia department experts of the Civil Hospital also checked its functioning and development followed primary approval… technicians and engineers of different centres also were trained on the usage. More accessories — high flow nasal cannulae, a circuit associated with it, a humidifier and flow meter are being added. Even the Government of India has contacted the company to work out if Dhaman can be supplied to other states. There can be issues in the beginning but it can be solved…”
On Monday, the state information department clarified that “in advanced cases,
patients require artificial respiratory ventilators. For that there are more than 250 ventilators in Civil Hospital… Initially when there was shortage, a firm in Rajkot manufactured an indigenous ventilator within 10 days and provided around 1,000 of them to the state government… these machines will be upgraded with new suggestions, there is no defect in these machines and they have not failed. They function properly and are very useful in saving the lives of COVID19 patients… Devices such as compressor, mixer, humidifier and calibration will be added…”
Dr Modi was unavailable for comment. GMSCL authorities too did not respond despite repeated calls.
Parakramsinh Jadeja, chief managing director (CMD) of Jyoti CNC Automation Ltd, could not be contacted. The website of the firm said, “The first live testing was done on a patient on April 4, 2020, in the presence of officials of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital along with CM Vijay Rupani and deputy CM Nitin Patel.”
Quoting Jadeja, the website states, “We are not experts in producing ventilators but looking at the current demand in the country, we planned and designed this equipment. We have developed this product keeping in mind the ‘Make in India’ mission. It required several imported parts… Since imports were tough at this time, we sourced parts from about 26 different companies from across India… we deployed a team of about 150 engineers under the leadership of Rajendra Parmar (who has experience in ventilator testing & maintenance with RHP medicals), who led this project.”
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