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Chandigarh buys oximeters as people fail to find ventilators, ICU beds

“We had asked the UT Administration to tell us what all the health departments needs to purchase ...they have asked us to purchase oximeters and thermal scanners,” said KK Yadav, MC Commissioner.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
May 15, 2021 10:35:52 am
As many as 2,602 samples were tested for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. As many as 215 patients were discharged.

IN ORDER to utilize the Rs 28-crore Covid cess, the UT administration has asked the civic body to purchase 20,000 pulse oximeters, 20,000 thermal scanners along with 80 oxygen concentrators.
The move has raised eyebrows considering the money can help strengthen the healthcare infrastructure with the purchase of ventilators etc.

“We had asked the UT Administration to tell us what all the health departments needs to purchase …they have asked us to purchase oximeters and thermal scanners,” said KK Yadav, MC Commissioner.

The Commissioner further said that the bid for the purchase of 80 oxygen concentrators of 10 litres capacity each will open next week on May 19.

Ventilator beds in UT

For a city with a population of over 17 lakh, GMCH-16 has only six ICU/ventilator beds, GMCH-32 has 31 ICU/ventilators while Sector 48 hospital has 17 ICU/ventilator beds. PGIMER, which caters to a population from northern region, has 72 of these.

On Friday morning, a 94-year-old patient, whose oxygen saturation levels were dipping, passed away due to non-availability of ventilators in city hospitals.

Need to strengthen health infrastructure

The UT Administration seems to be looking at only short-term goals. However, health experts call for revamping the health infrastructure.

“If we are talking of a long-term scenario, we should construct a separate hospital for such situations, not just in Chandigarh but everywhere in the country. As of now we are creating facilities out of the existing system. Like in AIIMS Delhi, the trauma Centre has been made a Covid hospital. In PGI too we made a Covid facility from our existing blocks. We have to plan separate hospital exclusively for infectious diseases so that whenever any virus strikes, for example H1N1, the Nipah virus…we are ready to tackle it,” said PGI Director Dr Jagat Ram. “We have sufficient ventilators now but we also need trained manpower,” he added.

“The Administration needs to be proactively ready for an eventual third stage by strengthening ICU/ventilator beds and homecare setups with this amount. Ideally, this should have been done last year when Covid struck,” said Vinod Vashisht, Convener, CFORWO (City Forum of Residents Welfare Organisations).

“Chandigarh has a very high test positivity ratio… But the authorities simply react and declare micro-containment zones in residential areas instead of managing hospital beds to meet the increasing needs. The Tricity’s markets and Sector 26 grain market remain crowded without any social distancing norms. The administration should also set up special mobile vaccination camps in the city’s congested markets and vending sites,” he added.

Dr Ramneek Singh Bedi, Advisor, World Medical Association and Past National Vice President, IMA, said home management for pre and post hospitalised patients needs to be ramped up in the city.

“Procurement of a large number of oxygen concentrators which maintain 90 per cent oxygen delivery at increased flow will be hugely beneficial. Also, training of HCWs for critical care treatment and including NCC and NSS cadets in home care and level 1 care centres will also help,”
Bedi said.

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