The Rajasthan government has written to the Centre after receiving complaints from multiple districts about “faulty” ventilators that were given under the PM-CARES, or Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations, fund, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.
Vaibhav Galriya, the state’s secretary of medical education department, said that a letter was sent to the Union health ministry after taking feedback from medical colleges across the state. The Centre was informed after the matter was first brought up in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday.
In the meeting, Lakhan Poswal, Principal of Ravindra Nath Tagore Medical College in Udaipur, said that they had received 85 ventilators under the PM-CARES fund, which were found defective. “Our anaesthetists and intensive care doctors don’t have confidence in PM Cares ventilators at all,” he said. “The ventilators run for 1-2 hours and then they stopped working.” Poswal said that he received similar feedback from other medical colleges.
Galriya also informed Gehlot that the ventilators experienced a “pressure drop” problem, The Indian Express reported. “When we put someone on a ventilator, it is important to have a sustained pressure, as it becomes the difference between life and death,” Galriya said in the meeting, adding that the state was now relying on old ventilators and those procured under the State Disaster Relief Fund.
SS Rathore, principal of the Sardar Patel Medical College and Prince Bijay Singh Memorial Hospital in Bikaner, also said that they were seeing pressure inconsistencies in ventilators provided under the PM-CARES fund. He, however, added that the ventilators were upgraded later and were not put to use after that as the number of cases decreased.
Galriya, however, said that upgrading the software in ventilators also did not produce results. He said that the state health department officials had informed the Centre’s representatives, including the country’s Covid task force chief VK Paul, about the problem in December. The ventilators were upgraded after the Centre’s representatives spoke to the manufacturers. The problem, however, persisted.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters on Thursday, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said that Gehlot had in a review meeting instructed them to inform the Centre about the matter, ANI reported. “Centre sent us 1,000 ventilators, we installed them but they stopped working within two to two-and-a-half hours,” Sharma said. “There is no politics in it, we are telling them about a defect.”