Norms allegedly flayed by health department and medical colleges in purchase of kits
Even as the health and sanitation workers have plunged themselves into peril by remaining at frontline of war against the spread of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), irregularities have come into fore in the purchase of all important Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for them. In purchase of PPE, the health department and the administration of medical colleges of the state have flayed the norms set up by the union government and have kept aside the orders of state administration. These irregularities got surfaced after the doctors of the government medical college found the PPE kits sub standard and returned them. After getting information of the irregularities, the state administration has banned purchase of PPE kits at district level. The Uttarakhand High Court (HC) has also taken cognizance of a PIL questioning the quality of PPE kits and sought response of officials concerned by April 21.
It is learnt that the officials purchased sub standard kits from unlisted vendors and suppliers which didn’t had the necessary approval by authorised laboratories. As per the government of India guidelines, there are only two officially recognized laboratories for conducting tests on body overalls (PPE) in India, the South India Textile Research Association (SITRA), Coimbatore and Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior
After the enforcement of the nationwide lockdown by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 22, the central government issued an advisory to the states regarding PPE kit and other medical equipment needed in battle against COVID-19. As per the advisory, the Public Sector Undertaking, Hindustan Latex Limited (HLL) was made a nodal agency for procurement of these materials.
On March 24, the secretary medical health and family welfare, Nitesh Jha issued orders to health department and Principals of the medical colleges and asked them to purchase the equipment through HLL. However the health department and medical colleges ostensibly purchased sub standard PPE kits for their frontline Corona warriors bypassing the procedure of getting them through HLL.
It is learnt that at many places, the health workers were shocked to find HIV kits instead of PPE kits.
The HIV kits are knee length only and are open from back. The PPE kits on the other hand are mandated to be made up of fluid and virus resistant material. It has an overall, face mask, eye covers, N-95 masks, gloves, shoe cover and disposable bags. A kit once used had to be discarded. When The Pioneer tried to contact the director general (DG) of health services, Dr Amita Upreti over phone, the call went unanswered.
Monday, 20 April 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
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