A day after the Centre said it had dispatched Covid-19 relief supplies donated by other countries to states and medical institutions across India, some hospitals identified as the recipients told The Print they were yet to receive the supplies.
On May 3, Scroll.in was the first to report that 300 tonnes of foreign assistance had arrived at Delhi airport since April 28, but states were yet to hear about their share in it. The next day, the Central government said the materials had been dispatched to 31 states and Union Territories. “All possible attempts have been made to distribute them immediately,” the statement released by the Union health ministry said.
Interviews of state officials, however, revealed that the distribution process began as late as May 3 evening, more than a week after the first batch of emergency Covid-19 assistance arrived in India.
In its statement, the Union health ministry listed 38 medical institutions, including 33 hospitals run by the Central government and five public sector undertakings, as the recipients of foreign aid. It said these institutions in 31 states were sent “24 different categories of items numbering nearly 40 lakhs”, including oxygen concentrators, cylinders and generation plants; ventilators and BiPAP machines; drugs, masks and personal protective equipment, among others.
However, some of the hospitals listed in the statement said they were still waiting for the supplies.
The director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhopal, Sarman Singh, told The Print that they were yet to receive the supplies but a list had been sent to the Union health ministry. The medical facility needs oxygen concentrators, cylinders and the anti-viral drug remdisivir. “Over the last one week, I have been in touch with the Ministry of Health,” he said, adding that he had been assured that help would be provided.
The director of AIIMS Patna, Dr Prabhat Kumar, told ThePrint: “We have so far received 60 oxygen concentrators. Oxygen cylinders and medicines are on the way. We have been told this is a part of relief material provided by foreign governments.”
A senior doctor in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, another hospital named in the Union health ministry’s list, confirmed they had received some of the supplies and that was more was coming. “We have already received some medical equipment, including oxygen concentrators and cylinders,” the unidentified doctor said. “It would not be apt to speak about the quantities yet since the conversation is ongoing, but we have been assured that the hospital will get the required medical necessities.”
- Centre claims Covid-19 foreign aid promptly distributed, but states say process began only on May 3
- Where are the 300 tonnes of emergency Covid-19 supplies that have landed in Delhi in last five days?
Between April 28 and May 2, 300 tonnes of relief materials landed at Delhi airport, a spokesperson of the airport had told Scroll.in. Until the evening of May 3, Monday, states had neither received any supplies from the Centre, nor had they been informed about their share in the foreign aid, officials of seven state health departments, including Delhi, told us.
The first supplies reached some states on May 4 morning.
Punjab was allocated 2,000 remdesivir injections and 150 oxygen concentrators, 100 of which reached the state on Tuesday morning. Odisha was informed that it had been allocated 2,295 remdesivir injections, said Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, additional chief secretary in the health department. The injections had not reached Odisha till Tuesday.
Jharkhand’s health department also acknowledged that it had been informed by the Centre about its allocation on Monday evening. Officials said it was still waiting for the supplies to arrive.
West Bengal health officials claimed they had not received any communication from the Centre about the allocations made to their state, as of Tuesday evening.