Chandigarh PGI director calls out ‘acute shortage’ of PPE kits
The worst hit are the sanitation staff, some of whom had to ‘fight’ for a mask in the morning
The director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Dr Jagat Ram, has said that the hospital is reeling under pressures of “acute shortage” of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers.
“There is an acute shortage of PPE kits. If the situation worsens, we will be left in the lurch. We have placed a demand for 10,000 kits and are waiting for companies to deliver the order,” said Dr Jagat Ram.
Health care workers in the City are also in dire need of N-95 masks, gloves and sanitizers. On Wednesday, the PGI Nurses’ Welfare Association wrote a letter to the director demanding “proper supply of N-95 masks, PPE kits and sanitizer.”
The letter reads: “When patients reach the hospital, it’s very hard to know the status of the patient, whether he/she is (corona) positive or negative… for the safety of the staff attending patients, it is requested that we may be provided with PPE kits, N-95 masks and sanitizer.”
On Tuesday, the Union ministry of health and family welfare issued guidelines on the rationale use of PPE—protective gear designed to safeguard the health of workers by minimising exposure to a biological agent. It includes goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, cover all/gowns.
The health care workers working in the emergency ward have been advised to wear N-95 masks and gloves, and those dealing with severely ill patients are advised to wear a full PPE kit. Doctors working in the OPD and screening centres are advised to wear N-95 masks and gloves, and the sanitation staff at moderate risk are recommended N-95 masks and gloves.
However, in the PGIMER, only those health care workers are provided with PPE kits or N-95 masks who are directly dealing with Covid (Coronavirus Disease) cases, especially in the communicable disease ward, at screening centres and in the triage area of emergency.
Dr Uttam Thakur, president of the PGI Association of Resident Doctors, said, “We had demanded that every doctor/health worker in the emergency must be provided N-95 masks, as they are at high risk of getting infection. At present, doctors are using regular surgical masks. At times I get calls from doctors that they aren’t even getting those. We are waiting for the administration’s response.”
Sanitation staff ‘fighting’ for masks
The worst hit are the sanitation staff, some of whom had to “fight” in the morning to get a mask. Sanjeev Kumar, president of the PGI Contractual Workers’ Union, said: “There are over 1,500 contractual sanitation workers in PGIMER and many are not getting masks. Often we have to struggle with the nursing staff to get one mask, because they say there is a shortage.”
Dr Jagat Ram said: “We are giving PPE kits to those dealing with suspicious and confirmed corona cases. To others, we are providing masks and gloves as per norms.”
There are around 15,000 N-95 masks and 1 lakh three-layered masks available with the hospital as of now.