Modi Govt begins auditing of ventilators allotted to states. The result is going to be exactly like Delhi’s Oxygen audit
In a move which will dishearten many states, particularly those ruled by the Congress and other regional parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday ordered an “immediate” audit of installation and operation of ventilators provided by the central government. The audit on ventilators provided to states comes in the backdrop of states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Punjab shouting their lungs out over the life-support ventilators supplied by the Centre, under the PM Cares Fund, being ‘faulty’ and non-functional. The Prime Minister is said to have taken “serious note of some reports about ventilators lying unutilised in storage in some states.”
PM Modi also said that if states were unequipped to deal with the ventilators, special training must be provided to healthcare workers who are to handle the ventilators. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by PM Modi to discuss the covid and vaccination related situation in India. Prime Minister Modi ordering an audit of the ventilators in states comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court giving a go ahead for the implementation of an audit of medical oxygen supply, distribution and consumption under the AAP government in Delhi.
Interestingly, after the oxygen audit in the national capital was given a green light by the apex court, the Kejriwal-led government of Delhi took a rather radically different stance on the issue of medical oxygen. From claiming that Delhi required over 700 MT of oxygen daily, the Aam Aadmi Party government said that it suddenly found itself in the luxurious position of being an oxygen surplus states, and as such, Delhi’s daily surplus quota of oxygen could be diverted to other, more ‘needy states’.
Now that an audit of ventilators has been ordered by no less than the Prime Minister himself, states like Rajasthan, Punjab and Maharashtra too will most likely follow the footsteps of Delhi and try to find a way out of the trap they have set for themselves. An audit of ventilators will reveal that such states simply did not handle the equipment properly. Already, even prior to an audit, the Health Ministry has come to know that such states are not maintaining ventilators properly. Some states are not even ensuring that such equipment is installed properly.
The Congress government of Punjab, like other opposition-ruled states, has been claiming that the ventilators provided to it by the Centre are ‘faulty’ in nature. However, dismissing such claims, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a recent statement said, “In addition to the instructions given in the user manual, detailed instructions and guidelines have also been issued to all the ventilator users regarding infrastructure requirements, proper usage and maintenance of the CV200 ventilators. However, these are not being followed by many hospitals and medical colleges in Punjab. They have been, instead, raising the issue of ventilators being non-functional without any basis.”
The ministry also added, “Further, the consumables like flow sensors, bacteria filters and HME filters are not being changed by the hospital authorities as per the prescribed norms, or the ventilators are being used without these important consumable items. Maintenance of correct gas pressures (difference between air pressure and oxygen pressure cannot be more than 10 PSI) and use of proper consumables are essential requirements, without which performance of CV200 ventilators is not guaranteed.”
Maharashtra – whose MVA government has proven to be an unparalleled disaster when it comes to handling the pandemic, had the state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant call the supply of ventilators for Covid-19 care a “big scam“. In Rajasthan, as reported by TFI, ventilators are being leased out by government hospitals to private institutions at exorbitant rates, while state cabinet ministers rush to defend such illegalities.
All in all, the audit ordered by the Prime Minister will expose many state governments for their abject ineptitude to deal with a health crisis, despite being accorded all the help by the Centre.