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Centre reviews availability of key medical devices ahead of third wave

A taskforce formed by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has recommended that India stockpiles at least 50 key medical devices like ventilators, syringes, ICU beds, oxygen tubes etc ahead of an expected third wave.

The Health Ministry is handling this process of procurement and distribution, informed a senior government official. The health secretary could not be reached for a comment on the matter.

The DoP, which comes under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, had formed a task force around June comprised of industry bodies and manufacturing companies. It was mandated to look into third wave preparedness as far as medical devices go, an industry source told Business Standard.

The task force recommended that a stockpile of 50 key medical devices be created in four geographical zones in the country. These include devices like ventilators, monitoring equipment, oxygen tubing, breathing masks, auto-disable syringes, Covid-19 test kits, ICU beds, etc.

“The Health Ministry and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) gave scenarios of demand forecasting based on assumptions of three possible cases in the third wave. The worst case scenario was 600.000 cases per day up from the peak 400,000 cases per day in the second wave, and the best case scenario was 300,000 cases per day,” informed an industry source who is also a task force member.

Based on this the task force captured potential demand and manufacturing capacity of 50 odd Covid-19 critical medical devices and flagged red as critical or for immediate procurement, orange as potential shortages (so urgent procurement) and green as no shortages of the expected items, the source added.

The task force report will now be placed before an empowered committee comprising cross departmental representation for consideration. Business Standard