Tamil Nadu

‘Spell out frequency at which PPE kits are given to doctors’

It has been reported that a PPE kit cannot be used for more than six hours.

It has been reported that a PPE kit cannot be used for more than six hours.  

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to spell out the frequency at which Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits were being distributed to the 21 government hospitals authorised to treat COVID-19 patients, since it had been reported that a kit cannot be used for more than six hours.

Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy sought to know the number of doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers falling under the high-risk, moderate-risk and low-risk categories in each of the 21 hospitals, and the number of kits being distributed to them.

The directions were issued on a public interest litigation petition filed by advocate S. Jimraj Milton through his counsel Balan Haridas, who claimed that a number of doctors in the State would not have tested positive for COVID-19 had the government provided sufficient, good-quality PPE kits to them. The petitioner also filed a supporting affidavit by activist-doctor G.R. Ravindranath. He told the court that though government doctors were not supposed to be engaged on duty for more than six hours a day, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research’s guidelines, they were being engaged for eight to 12 hours in some government hospitals. “PPE issued by the government in many places is not actual PPE. It is either a surgical apron or an HIV kit consisting of a mask, head cover, hand gloves and body cover. An HIV kit is meant for treating HIV patients and cannot be used for treating COVID-19,” the affidavit read.

Additional Advocate General S.R. Rajagopal said the government was equally concerned about frontline healthcare providers, and hence, it had been supplying high-quality PPE kits to them. He said some doctors had tested positive because they couldn’t be expected to wear PPE round-the-clock.

The court sought the government’s response by July 27 to four other issues, apart from the frequency of distribution of PPE kits. It asked whether all State and district-level statutory committees had been constituted as per provisions of the Disaster Management Act of 2005. Further, the AAG was asked to get instructions on the litigant’s claim of exorbitant treatment fees being charged by private hospitals for COVID-19, the need for establishing community kitchens and the government’s alleged failure to utilise volunteers willing to assist it in its efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 8:54:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/spell-out-frequency-at-which-ppe-kits-are-given-to-doctors/article32025832.ece

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