Tamil Nadu

Healthcare providers try to source PPE on their own, alumni chip in

On March 29, the State recorded its first positive case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a healthcare provider — a 29-year-old railway doctor. This has reiterated the need for providing adequate safety gear not only to the healthcare providers in the front line of COVID-19 management but also to those posted in outpatient wards, in order to reduce the risk of infection.

While the State government has been maintaining that Tamil Nadu has adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), N95 masks and triple-layer masks for its healthcare providers, a section of doctors, postgraduates and interns of a number of government hospitals have been finding ways to source the kits on their own. In some institutions, the alumni have chipped in, and are trying to source the kits.

“One group of specialists of a government medical college hospital placed orders for PPE using their own money as they are on the front line of COVID-19 care and were not willing to take the risk. In this situation, the PPE are sold at exorbitant prices, but still, they went ahead and purchased them,” said a doctor.

Inquiries with a number of doctors, PGs and interns found that while the availability of PPE in many of the isolation wards of government hospitals was better than before, much more improvement was needed in terms of steady availability and quality.

“In fact, those posted in the casualty and outpatient departments still do not have access to most of the safety gear. Many of us have purchased masks on our own. It is important to provide PPE kits even to those posted in OP as they are also at risk of infection and could end up transmitting infection to patients,” another doctor said.

“The PPE supplied to most of the doctors and staff posted at isolation wards are similar to the HIV kits. This will not provide the much-needed protection from COVID-19,” he added.

Another government doctor said the government could at least get units to manufacture kits similar to the “hazmat” suits. Alumni of a number of government medical colleges were trying to do their bit. “We have pooled in money for about 250 to 300 PPE for PGs, and also for the incoming interns. The government should encourage factories such as those in Tiruppur to manufacture the kits by providing raw materials,” an alumnus said. Another senior doctor said that they tried to get aprons, masks and shoe covers for doctors posted in OP but these were out of stock in most places. “It is important that our healthcare providers are provided adequate protection as they are on the front line of tackling COVID-19),” he said.

Officials of the Health department said Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation had taken over the supply of PPE and N95 masks to ensure daily distribution to all hospitals from its warehouses. Every hospital has been asked to take daily stock instead of ad hoc supplies.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:56:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/healthcare-providers-try-to-source-ppe-on-their-own-alumni-chip-in/article31259940.ece

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