The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the need for defibrillator devices. Heart failures are among the most common reasons for the death of critical Covid patients across the globe, and the founders of Jeevtronics, a start-up from Pune, are now finding their defibrillator devices in demand in both India and Africa.
Defibrillators are commonly used by doctors to restore the normal heartbeats of patients, especially those who have suffered a cardiac arrest. It sends electric pulses or shocks to the body in order to correct abnormal or slower heartbeat.
Incubated at Venture Centre – Pune in 2014, Jeevtronics is among the five Indian companies to receive support under the Centre for Augmenting WAR with Covid-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) programme, announced earlier this year by the Department of Science and Technology.
The biggest advantage of the device, named SanMitra 1000 HCT, is that it does not require batteries to operate. “The device is operable even on generator mode, making it functional in the absence of electricity supply. This makes it suitable for hospitals in rural areas as well,” said Aniruddha Atre, co-founder of Jeevtronics.
Since January 2019, about 90 units of the device have been used for patients across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. Two units have been shipped to Mozambique and Zambia in Africa. The devices are distributed to private and government hospitals for less than Rs 1 lakh.
When the organisation began rolling out the devices, the manufacturing capacity was around 60 units per month. However, the pandemic has led to a demand for more units, and the company says it has the capacity to scale up production to 200 units per month, if provided with timely funds, raw material, and manpower.
The sudden surge in demand has put a strain on the start-up’s limited resources.
“Even though we received more than 400 enquiries in recent months, we could not deliver all of them,” Ashish Gawade, co-founder, said. “The pandemic has taught us to keep contingency plans ready, as we have no control over supply of raw material and the functioning of supply chains.” Both Gawade and Atre said doctors in the city must come forward to suggest ways of enhancing such devices, so they can be built to meet Indian requirements.
“Our studies have shown how some imported devices do not operate optimally in Indian weather, or dusty conditions. So, it would be better to manufacture devices indigenously in the future,” Atre said.
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