Amid Covid third wave fear, ventilators lying idle in Odisha

Around 12 districts of the State have 10 or less life saving machines in their Covid hospitals
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

BHUBANESWAR: Is Odisha ready for the imminent third wave of the pandemic? Are the interior districts, which witnessed a devastating second wave, equipped with life-saving medical equipment?
An investigation revealed that ventilators procured by the State government earlier this year have not been installed in some of the districts due to the lack of required accessories and manpower to operate.

Caught off-guard at the demand of ventilators in the second wave, the State had procured 273 life-saving machines at Rs 18.73 crore and dispatched them to 16 districts on the basis of caseload. While 109 ventilators were provided to Khurda (79 to SUM Covid Hospital and 30 to Hi-Tech MCH), 80 were sent to Ganjam (30 each to Ashwini Hospital and Tata Medica, 20 to MKCG). 

Among the rest 14 districts, Cuttack had received 18 ventilators (six for SCB and 12 for Ashwini Covid Hospital), Koraput and Puri got 10 each, Kalahandi and Sambalpur seven each, Nayagarh, Balangir and Nuapada five each, Jajpur four, Dhenkanal, Jagatsinghpur and Jharsuguda three each and Sonepur two. Sources said the ventilators supplied to Malkangiri, Nuapada, and Jagatsinghpur have not been installed. A health official at Malkangiri DHH said the machines could not be installed due to lack of accessories and the Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL) has been moved to supply the required components.

While the ventilators sent to Paradip Biju Yatri Nivas that has been converted into a Covid hospital are yet to be installed in the absence of an anaesthesiologist, officials at Nuapada said the machines will be installed at DHH where the ICU infrastructure is incomplete.

The installation at Balangir was also delayed due to the absence of an anaesthesiologist. Shockingly, 12 districts have 10 or fewer ventilators. RTI activist Pratap Chandra Mohanty, who had sought the status of ventilators procured for Covid management, said the OSMCL did not provide information on installation. “It might have avoided replying as all ventilators have not been installed. But I would file an appeal for suppressing the information,” he said.

This apart, the government is yet to install 37 ventilators it received from PM Cares. While four ventilators are gathering dust at Jagatsinghpur DHH, six are lying idle at Jajpur DHH. The remaining 27 are yet to be distributed.

Of the 567 ventilators received from the Centre under PM Cares Fund, 499 have been installed in the last year. Eighteen ventilators, including the highest six at Balangir DHH, five at JP Hospital, Rourkela, and three each at Rourkela Government Hospital and VIMSAR, Burla and one at Jharsuguda DHH are non-functional due to manufacturing defects. Thirteen ventilators have been kept as reserve. Contacted, Managing Director of OSMCL Yamini Sarangi said all ventilators procured by the government have been installed. 

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