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Karnataka gets 630 PM CARES ventilators, to check efficiency before use

An expert committee will evaluate the quality of the ICU ventilators supplied by the Central government’s procurement agency HLL Lifecare before these are deployed, a senior official in the Karnataka government said.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: July 10, 2020 8:27:31 am
The Karnataka government has procured around 693 ICU ventilators since March — 630 through the Centre and 63 on its own — to make up for shortages in the government health care sector. (File)

The Karnataka government has received 630 ventilators sponsored by the PM Cares Fund for deployment in the battle against Covid-19 but health officials are seeking to evaluate the efficiency of the devices, following reports of certain purchases not measuring up to the necessary standards for Covid patients in some hospitals in Mumbai and Delhi.

An expert committee will evaluate the quality of the ICU ventilators supplied by the Central government’s procurement agency HLL Lifecare before these are deployed, a senior official in the Karnataka government said.

The Karnataka government has procured around 693 ICU ventilators since March — 630 through the Centre and 63 on its own — to make up for shortages in the government health care sector. A total of 1,300 ventilators have been sought from the Centre by the state.

“Another 400 will be coming next week from the Centre,” said N Manjushree, Additional Director of the Karnataka State Drugs Logistics and Warehousing Society, which is the sourcing agency for equipment in the state.

The ventilators have been supplied by several companies with the majority being procured from Indian manufacturers like the BEL-Skanray Technologies collaboration and machines made by the startup AgVa Healthcare in collaboration with Maruti Suzuki India Limited.

“These are low-end machines so we need to check quality before deploying. There are reports of procurements not being to specifications,” a senior medical official said.

Questions were reportedly raised about the ventilators supplied by AgVa Healthcare in two hospitals in Mumbai and by BEL-Skanray Technologies in a Delhi hospital.

“Whenever equipment is supplied, it is tested to see whether it matches the tender specifications. This will be done in the case of the ICU ventilators procured and supplied by the Centre as well. An expert committee will study the quality of the equipment,” said Dr Om Prakash Patil, Director of the state’s Health and Family Welfare Department.

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