Export of medical items to Serbia triggers debate

90 tonnes of protective supplies sent

March 31, 2020 11:19 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 06:37 am IST - NEW DELHI

Photo for representational purpose.

Photo for representational purpose.

Despite reported shortfalls of necessary items for medical professionals, India exported a major consignment during the weekend.

According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Serbia procured nearly 90 tonnes of “medical protective equipment” from suppliers located in different parts of India.

“The transportation of valuable supplies purchased by the Serbian government has been fully funded by the European Union while the UNDP, Serbia organised the flight and ensured the fastest possible delivery,” UNDP in Serbia declared in a social media message.

The delivery has triggered discussion in social media with comments pointing at shortages of many necessary items that the medical community in India is facing in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Doctors and nurses from various parts of the country have been sending out videotaped messages urging the government to ensure necessary items for their safety during treatment of coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) patients.

While the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to elaborate on the full list of items that the Serbian government has purchased from here, available information from Customs suggests that the items exported included 35 lakh pairs of sterile latex surgical gloves.

The Centre, in recent weeks, has prohibited several items from being exported in view of the urgent requirement in the country. India is also looking at procuring equipment from abroad, including from China and South Korea.

The shortage of essential medical items in the fight against the outbreak also featured during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with 130 Indian envoys across the world on Monday.

He discussed possibilities of procuring equipment from different parts of the world to ensure effective response to the crisis. Envoys stationed in China and South Korea also briefed the Prime Minister about the items that could be exported to India.

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