Mumbai: Civic facilities to get unused COVID-19 medical equipment
After some CCCs were closed due to declining cases, it is lying unused; at least 30 ventilators are also not being used due to complaints of poor quality, but a BMC official insists they are useful
As the number of COVID-19 cases begins to drop in the city, the civic body will now start focussing on utilising the medical equipment that isn't being used. However, apart from basic equipment at COVID Care Centres that were recently shut down, there are around 30 low-cost ventilators at SevenHills Hospital that aren't fit for use due to poor quality. But the additional municipal commissioner insists that these ventilators are useful.
'No response from BMC'
Leader of opposition and Congress corporator Ravi Raja had written to the civic body on June 28 alleging that the ventilators had been purchased at double the cost. "The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) purchased 30 AgVa ventilators at R3 lakh each and none of them are being used. I have not received any response from the administration. I had even demanded an inquiry over such a tragic waste of funds for sub-standard equipment," said Raja.
An official said the equipment will be sent to health posts, peripheral hospitals, maternity homes or dispensaries
A doctor at Seven Hills Hospital said that the ventilators had several defects. "This ventilator was marketed as a low oxygen flow device in comparison to other high-flow ventilators that are needed by critical COVID patients. But it has an android feature which freezes and stops working. It also cannot deliver above a certain percentage of oxygen saturation and is harmful to treat a patient," said the doctor.
'Ventilators are on stand-by'
But Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, insists the 30 ventilators were useful. "These are basic ventilators and they are on stand-by. If high-end ventilators are available then the chances of using the basic ones are little. However, if the patient requires minimal support, then they will be used," said Kakani.
Health department officials said that the CCC1 and CCC2 facilities that were recently closed, had pulse oxymeters, stethoscopes, glucometers and blood pressure monitors.
"The equipment will be sent to health posts, peripheral hospitals, maternity homes or dispensaries as part of the annual wear and tear replacement," said an official from the health department.
"The BMC has spent around R840 crore on all aspects of the pandemic including infrastructure, food packets, salaries and equipment. While around R120 crore has been spent on purchasing majority of the medical equipment, a lot was donated as well. Rented equipment will be taken back by the vendors and we will have to find a way to distribute the rest among the peripheral hospitals," said P Velarasu, additional municipal commissioner (Projects). He added that the largest donation was made by Tata Hospital with 100 ventilators which are all in use.
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