NEW DELHI :
The central government has ramped up domestic manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment, including ventilators, to meet the increasing demand, amid serious concerns over shortage of PPE for health workers.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation has decided to collaborate with local manufacturers to produce 20,000 N99 masks per day, while Bengaluru-based Bharat Electronics Ltd will provide support for manufacturing 30,000 ventilators.
Two domestic producers are manufacturing N95 masks and supplying 50,000 of them per day, said the government. This would increase to up to 100,000 masks per day within the next week, it said.
There are 334,000 PPE kits available in the country for the use of medical staff and around 60,000 PPE kits have been sent to hospitals, the government said. However, doctors across states had flagged that the supplies were not adequate to meet the demand.
“Initially, there was a problem regarding availability, as the material used was imported. However, we have addressed it and are actively encouraging indigenous production of such kits, apart from those that are imported," Luv Aggarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry, said on Monday.
As many as 12 domestic manufacturers have cleared quality tests for manufacturing PPE and would provide 2.6 million kits. The supply would go up from around 7,000 coveralls per day to 15,000 per day by next week.
Around 10,000 PPEs have been arranged by the Indian Red Cross Cociety from China and are being distributed, while an additional 300,000 donated coveralls would arrive by 4 April. An order for 300,000 PPEs has been placed with ordinance factories.
The ministry of external affairs has also engaged with a Singapore-based online platform for supply of 1 million PPE kits and masks and a South Korea-based supplier for supplying 2 million PPE kits.
Agva Healthcare in Noida, has been able to develop ventilators and an order of 10,000 ventilators has been placed with it. Supplies are expected to begin by mid- April. Indian automobile manufacturers are also preparing to manufacture ventilators.