Over the allegations that the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) were substandard, the Uttar Pradesh government has clarified that the protective gears, bought and approved last year, were not substandard but meant for medicos treating H1N1 patients and the government is buying new PPE kits meant for doctors treating COVID-19 patients.
Principal Secretary (Health and Medical) Amit Mohan Prasad said the PPE kits procured were meant for doctors treating H1N1 (influenza A virus) patients and they were procured in October- November last year, cleared by a team of doctors as per norms. He added that the COVID-19 outbreak has made PPE kits expensive.
Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi has said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is holding a video conference meeting with directors, principals, doctors and microbiologists from the state, Centre and privately run hospitals to review the situation and the CM has instructed that there should be proper arrangement for N-95 masks and personal protection kits for health workers.
He added that old kits had been bought at Rs 115 per piece, while the new kits meant for doctors treating COVID-19 patients were costing Rs 1,000.
The matter came to light after medical workers from Uttar Pradesh who are at the forefront in the battle against COVID-19 complained about the 'inferior quality' of medical equipment provided to them. According to reports, after medical government colleges in Meerut and Noida complained about the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) failing to meet the safety standards, the institutes were asked to return the kits.
The reports stated that the Director-General of Medical Education (DGME), Uttar Pradesh has written to 24 other state medical colleges and institutes to not use PPEs which are not up to the standard and return them immediately. The kits were supplied through UP Medical Supplies and Drug Corporation (UPSDC), which has contradicted the claim and said that the same kits were used for swine flu treatment.
The total number of COVID-19 positive cases in Uttar Pradesh stands at 847 of which 74 have been cured and discharged while 14 have succumbed to the virus as on April 17 according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
(With Agency inputs)