Centre slow in clearing essential items imported by Maharashtra, claims Tope

An elderly couple arrives to receive COVID-19 vaccine at Nair Hospital in Mumbai on Thursday.  

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday claimed that the Centre’s Department of Pharmaceuticals was slow in granting clearance to essential items imported by the State government.

Complaining again about the lack of COVID-19 vaccine supplies from the Centre, Mr. Tope said that its decision to halt oxygen supplies from neighbouring Karnataka could make the situation dire for Maharashtra.

“Given the dire shortage of vaccines, especially Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, several senior citizens are awaiting their second dose. Hence, the State government may take a decision on a priority basis to give the doses earmarked for the 18-44 age group to senior citizens who are yet to get their second vaccine shot,” the Health Minister said.

Mr. Tope further said that the State would feel the pinch following the Centre’s decision to stop oxygen from Karnataka. “Maharashtra has a daily requirement of 1,750 metric tonnes of oxygen. It is not proper to stop our given allocation at this critical stage. Talks are on at the highest levels to sort this out,” Mr. Tope said.

He alleged that the Centre’s Department of Pharmaceuticals was not giving speedy approval to various essential items that the State had ordered from abroad.

“The Union government’s procedure is taking more time. It takes numerous clearances and approvals before essential items can be dispatched to the State,” the Health Minister said.

Mr. Tope said the State was expecting around 3.5 lakh vials of Remdesivir from abroad in the next one or two days which would help ease the shortage to an extent.

He further said that in order to cope with the shortage of healthcare personnel and in preparation for the ‘third wave’ of the pandemic, the State Health Department would recruit 16,000 personnel, including 2,000 specialists, soon. “This will consist of 12,000 posts for Classes C and D, 2,000 posts for Class B (doctors), and 2,000 specialists,” the minister said.

The decision-making process at the government level would be completed within the next week and the recruitment would start accordingly, Mr. Tope said.

“At the last cabinet meeting, we decided to fill all posts related to patient care…Scientific advisers to the Central government have already warned of a ‘third wave’. Against this background, the need to work on all deficiencies like oxygen and Remedesivir supply, adequate ventilators, and beds have been underlined. However, there must be a sufficient number of healthcare workers, specialists and doctors-nurses to cope with the ‘third wave’,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 12:09:42 AM |

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