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Odisha’s COVID-19 fight: Corona warriors grapple with PPE, N-95 shortfall!

As per an unofficial estimate, State needs 30,000 PPEs per month. This requirement is based on 274 tests per day during April 1-13, along with requirements to cater the needs of screening staff in cluster containment zones

Bhubaneswar: The frontline corona warriors in Odisha are seemingly vulnerable to Covid-19. The State government today conceded that Odisha is grappling with huge shortfall of personal protective equipments (PPE).

Speaking to media, the Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL) MD and senior IAS Yamini Sarangi said the State currently have a PPE stock of 66,116. PPE kits include gowns, aprons, gloves, eye and face covering materials etc. She added OSMCL is facing difficulty in acquiring the PPE requirement for the State. PPEs are very vital in Covid-19 battle.

Odisha PPE requirement

How acute is the shortfall of PPE in Odisha could be gauged from the Union Government’s document on cluster containment plan, where a clear enumeration has been done on the requirement of PPE to tackle Covid-19 in country.

It says, “If a cluster containment will last for a month , then a population of 100,000 may require 2 million triple-layer masks, 200,000 gloves, 100,000 N-95 masks and about 50,000 PPE kits.”

Till April 12, Odisha had around 10 containment zones. The capital city, Bhubaneswar, the epicentre of Covid-19 with as many six active hotspots and where 2 cluster containments are still in force, had 5 containment zones till April 12. Over all, an estimate shows the total population covered during the containment plans across the State stood at around 20,000- 30,000.

As per an unofficial estimate, taking into account the load of Covid-19 positives in the State, along with cluster containment plans across the state, the total PPE requirement per day at present stood at 1000/day, which means the State needs 30,000 PPEs per month. This requirement is based on an average of over 274 Coid-19 tests per day conducted during April 1-13.

Moreover, as the State government has decided to conduct 1000 RTPCR tests/day from tomorrow (April 14), the PPE requirement will nearly 45000 per month. And if the Covid-19 positives rise to over 100, the requirement may double to over 60,000 per month.

Why the requirement hinges on rise in Covid-19 positives and tests?

As per WHO protocol, PPE need to used by all stakeholders associated with Covid-19 care and treatment. Right from health care sanitation workers to lab technicians, sample collectors, nurses and doctors. Besides, it is also needed for IDSP staff who do door-to-door screening for collecting swab samples in containment zones.

However, as per Odisha government information, the State currently had a stock of only 66, 116 PPEs. And the government today didn’t specify how many are in procurement stage.

 

The data released today also showed a discernible yawning gap with regard to N-95 respiratory masks and triple layer surgical masks.

But the big worrying fact emerged today is, Odisha government didn’t provide a road map on procuring of such vital protective equipments for the corona warriors in the state.

Moreover, the government has not provided any official account regarding the current requirement of PPE and N-95 masks in the state.

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