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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Rajasthan raises ‘faulty PM Cares ventilators’ with Centre

Officials said the state received 1,138 ventilators under PM Cares, and that these now account for almost 60 per cent of the 1,900 ventilators with the state.

Written by Hamza Khan | Jaipur |
Updated: April 9, 2021 11:30:54 am
The issue was first raised in a Covid review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday.

Following complaints from multiple districts, the Rajasthan government has written to the Centre over “faulty” ventilators received by the state under PM Cares, The Indian Express has learnt.

“We took feedback from medical colleges across the state and there was a general complaint regarding ventilators received by the state under PM Cares. Hence, we have written to the Union Ministry of Health regarding the issue,” said Vaibhav Galriya, Secretary, Medical Education, who had written the letter Tuesday asking that the ventilator “issues be resolved”.

The issue was first raised in a Covid review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot late on Monday. In the meeting, Dr Lakhan Poswal, principal of Ravindra Nath Tagore Medical College, Udaipur, said, “We had received 85 ventilators under PM Cares and apart from ours, the feedback from other medical colleges is that they are not effective. Our anaesthetists and intensive care doctors of medicine (department) don’t have confidence in PM Cares ventilators at all. The ventilators run for 1-2 hours and then they stop working. So, Udaipur had received 85 ventilators, and I spoke to principals of all medical colleges and the ‘CV 200’ and ‘AgVa’ ventilators of Indian Government are not effective”

Officials said that the state received 1,138 ventilators under PM Cares, and that these now account for almost 60 per cent of the 1,900 ventilators available with the state.

In the meeting chaired by CM, Galriya had told Gehlot, “We had received around 1,200 ventilators from PM Cares. We have tried to use all ventilators but all have an issue of pressure drop. When we put someone on a ventilator, it is important to have a sustained pressure, as it becomes the difference between life and death. So this feedback is coming from all over, that there is a pressure drop problem.” He said that the state is now mainly relying on old ventilators and those procured from SDRF funds.

The CM subsequently asked the Health department officials to write to the Union government. “Send them back, or write to them, it is important that it comes on record that they are not working.” Galriya then told the CM that, “When Sudhansh Pant and V K Paul (of GoI) came here, we apprised them of this issue. So Sudhansh Pant had communicated this to the CMD of the company which had manufactured the ventilators. Subsequently, their team came and upgraded the software, but the problem persists. We will take it up again in writing.” The CM then asked for a report on the status of PM Cares ventilators in the state.

Galriya told The Indian Express that during their visit in December, GoI representatives had spoken to M V Gowtama, CMD of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), which had manufactured the ventilators.

“Right now, 90-95 per cent ventilators are used as non-invasive ventilators, and the ones provided by GoI initially didn’t have that capability. So after the issue was raised, they upgraded the softwares and they now have the facility. But the issue is that there’s a pressure drop in these ventilators,” Galriya said.

“Our doctors tell us that the pressure drops within half-an-hour and an hour. They say that they have to be quite attentive while using these ventilators as they have to be near the patient then, so it’s a challenge,” Galriya said.

He said that doctors prefer the ones available with the state and use the ones provided by the Centre as a “last resort.”

Dr S S Rathore, Principal and Controller, Sardar Patel Medical College and Prince Bijay Singh Memorial hospital, Bikaner, said that, “We used PM Cares ventilators and our anaesthetists did complain about an issue of pressure drop with them. We had received 46 of them and they were eventually upgraded but we haven’t put them to use again as Coronavirus cases eventually ebbed.”

Dr Arun Gaur, Principal of Bhilwara Medical College, said, “Of the ventilators we had received, 50 per cent had pressure drop problem. This is as per a report taken from anaesthetists. That’s what they are telling us. And this is an issue not only in our place, but from many places.”

Dr Subhash Garg, Minister of State for Medical and Health, said, “The doctors have given a report saying that in the ventilators received under PM Cares fund, the pressure drops, which endangers the life of patients and also causes problems. So far, we haven’t received a reply from them (Centre).” He said that the report sought by the CM “is being prepared”. “Those ventilators are hardly being used anywhere. The CM will raise it in his next video conference with the PM.”

Almost a month ago, the state and Centre had sparred over vaccine supply, with CM Gehlot attacking the Centre for sharing “incorrect” data regarding vaccine supply to Rajasthan while the state stopped the first vaccination doses at the PHCs and CHCs in some districts.

***

Write back

Responding to The Indian Express report on April 8, ‘Rajasthan raises ‘faulty PM Cares ventilators’ with Centre’, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has written back stating concerns raised by Rajasthan are being addressed.

“Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has supplied 1,500 CV 200 Ventilators in different lots to Rajasthan and 1,455 of them have been installed and are functional. The initial supply of Ventilators had basic functions required for Covid care and ICU requirements and did not have functions like invasive BiPAP / CPAP mode, which were subsequently developed and introduced in all the Ventilators post installation.

One major complaint raised by the Rajasthan University of Health Sciences, Jaipur, was resolved through upgraded software. The ventilator was demonstrated to work well and to the satisfaction of doctors present. The registered complaints are being attended by our service engineers and are being closed after service with the consent of the concerned in-charge.

BEL has a well-built process of complaint lodging where each complaint is registered. Service Engineers resolve the issue and close each case with the signature of the user. If the problems are not attended over a specific period, the same is reviewed by expert back-up team.

We have requested the State Government to provide the complaint details through a Nodal Officer, so that we can reach out to the hospital concerned and resolve the issues on fast track basis. Currently only 6 complaints are registered and are being attended.”

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