Foreign Covid aid dispatched to 31 states, says Centre

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  As India reels under the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 40 countries have stepped up over the past one week to send essential supplies such as oxygen tanks, generators and therapeutic essentials, even as the Centre on Tuesday said that it has started distributing the foreign aid.

MEA photo shows medical equipment and othersupply coming to India from KuwaitAccording to a Health Ministry statement, the aid has been distributed to 38 institutions across 31 states have received crucial medical equipment and supply sent by other countries. As the cases surged in the country, the MEA alerted its missions abroad regarding the items in demand. Sources said no formal request for made for the items. 

“All the countries that have come forward to help us remember the help we provide to them during the initial phases of the pandemic. Even the ‘Vaccine Matri’ initiative has contributed to the outpour of help,”  a source said. So far, India has received 24 different categories of items, mainly BiPAP Machines, oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, PSA oxygen plants, pulse oximeters, drugs such as Faviparivir and Remdesivir and PPE kits and N95 masks numbering nearly 40 lakh.

India is due to get around 4.5 lakh vials of Remdesivir from Egypt, and sources said talks are on with the authorised manufacturers of the drug in Bangladesh to get more vials of the anti-viral drug. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said a special cell has been constituted to coordinate the receipt and allocate the resources among states and the allocation has been done keeping in mind equitable distribution and the load on tertiary health care facilities.

Initially, states have been covered via the AIIMS and other central institutions where the critical care patients load is high and where the need is highest, the government said. Besides, the central government hospitals, including DRDO facilities in and around Delhi and in the NCR region, have also been supplemented through the aid. The focus has largely been on tertiary health care facilities as they have a higher number of cases with severe symptoms of Covid and are often the only succour to people in the region for quality tertiary care, the ministry underscored.

The government maintained that as the material from abroad are currently coming in different numbers, specifications and at different times, there is a need to reconcile the distribution logistics with the need to reach the materials as expeditiously as possible to the states.