Only six districts in Punjab have ventilators for COVID-19

Only six districts in Punjab have ventilators for COVID-19

File photo for representation.

Karam Prakash
Tribune News Service
Patiala, April 7

A 40-year-old COVID-19 patient from Barnala was referred to Patiala’s government Rajindra Hospital, on Monday, after her health had deteriorated.

The reason being that Barnala district didn’t have an operational ventilator-support-system dedicated to COVID-19 patients.

In the majority of districts—worryingly—the situation is the same.

Of 22 districts in the state, only six have the facility of a ventilator-support system for the COVID-19 patients. 

Notably, the state is said to have got only 137 ventilators, which have been earmarked for the COVID-19 patients.

In an earlier incident, a Ludhiana-based COVID-19 positive woman, who later died, was also referred to Patiala for the same reason.

Experts say, this life saving medical equipment—ventilator—helps patients a great deal and can be the difference between life and death, especially, for those facing dire respiratory effects of the COVID-19.

Significantly, out of the nine health centres in six districts — where ventilators are available for COVID-19 patients — seven happened to be medical colleges. 

Health experts opined that the government should, immediately, designate one private hospital in every district, wherein, there was no ventilator in the government health facility.

Due to the unavailability of a ventilator in every district, patients have to waste their time in travelling long distances before they reach the destined place, say the experts.

Dr Pyare Lal Garg, an activist in the field of health services and former registrar of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, said the government had enough ventilators but they should work on how they could provide the facility in each district.

“Though the government has already identified centres to provide this facility, however, the government should put the effort in covering each district,” he added.

In a recent order by Secretary, Health Family and Welfare, all the civil surgeons and deputy commissioners had been told to refer COVID-19 patients to the nine health institutions only — as per the protocol.   

Meanwhile, the state health department said they had dedicated functional 137 ventilators for the COVID-19 patients in the first stage. 

However, the department claimed to have designated a total of 440 ventilators, including already fuctional130, in the state which would be used only if the workload had increased.

Dr Gb Singh, Barnala Civil Surgeon, said, “As a precautionary measure, we referred the patient to Patiala. The two ventilators were not operational. However, it will be ready for use by tomorrow.”  

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