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View from India: Healthcare in Covid times

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The Government of India (GoI) has allocated a sum of Rs 2,000 crore towards the supply of 50,000 ‘Made in India’ ventilators. This is from the PM CARES Fund Trust and will be given to government-run Covid hospitals in all states and union territories (UTs)

As per the official statement, Indian companies are gearing up to manufacture ventilators on a large scale. Bharat Electronics Limited is preparing to produce 30,000 ventilators, with the remaining 20,000 being lapped up by AgVa Healthcare (10,000), AMTZ Basic (5,650), AMTZ High End (4,000) and Allied Medical (350). So far 2,923 ventilators have been manufactured, of which 1,340 have already been delivered to government-run hospitals in Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka and Rajasthan. By the end of June 2020, an additional 14,000 ventilators will be delivered to all states and UTs.

GoI has also announced that Rs 1,000 crore has been set aside to address the welfare of migrant labourers. As part of the package, it will be used for accommodation, food, medical treatment and transportation. 

Media reports indicate that over 100 healthcare specialists, tech companies and investors came together voluntarily to launch a free telemedicine consultation app, aptly christened as ‘Swasth’, which means healthy.

The app, which focuses on fighting the spread of the virus, went live on 24 June. This telemedicine platform digitally connects patients with doctors and wellness providers via video and telephony, offering seamless remote interaction.

Processes are standardised, and artificial intelligence helps the app to gauge the care required. Following that, a digitally signed prescription and treatment advice are issued. The app, which supports Hindi and Gujarati, as well as English, will soon extend to 25 Indian vernaculars.

IT veterans including Kris Gopalakrishnan, Ranjan Pai from Manipal Hospitals group, Shobhana Kamineni from Apollo Hospitals Group, Subrata Mitra of Accel, Sharad Sharma from iSPIRT and Nachiket Mor are among the members of the governing council. Swasth has received a grant of Rs 10 crore ($1.3m) from the ACT Grants, an umbrella platform of entrepreneurs and investors backing start-ups.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has recently announced that it has completed its deployment of four Covid-19 Test Labs and four Outpatient Department (OPD) centres across the country. This is to assist GoI and state governments in their efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apex body NASSCOM is working with the IT industry in formulating innovative solutions to combat the pandemic. “Cloud-enabled HPE Covid-19 test labs and OPDs will enable authorities to refine their testing process and will significantly reduce the strain on existing healthcare facilities,” said Debjani Ghosh, president, NASSCOM.

The equipment in the test labs and OPD centres will be integrated with electronic medical record applications, and an online dashboard will be provided to monitor the related OPDs. Further IT equipment includes workstations, headphones, thermal cameras, networking components and uninterruptible power supply systems.

The facilities are equipped with Aruba Cloud Managed Wireless solution along with the ArubaUser Experience Insight Sensor. This will act as a virtual network admin onsite and monitor key applications 24/7. “As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to challenge local communities across the world, we are responding with initiatives to support the communities where we live and work,” said Som Satsangi, MD, India, HPE. "The deployment of HPE Covid-19 test labs and OPD centres will support the government’s efforts to prevent, detect and respond to Covid-19."

Meanwhile, today’s newspaper reports suggest that the price of personal protection equipment (PPE) kits and Covid test kits has been slashed. This is due to the large-scale manufacturing effort. It would be nice if the 'Made in India' PPE kits make it to the global market. 

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