Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has exhorted the States to plan in advance and increase COVID hospitals, beds with oxygen supply facility and other relevant infrastructure to deal with the surge in COVID cases.
He requested the States to give special focus on the prominent 5 to 6 cities in their administration, map medical colleges to either these cities or adjoining 2 to 3 districts.
Dr Vardhan chaired a high-level review meeting with the Health Ministers of 11 States and Union Territories to review measures taken by them for prevention, containment and management of the recent surge in COVID-19 .
These States include Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
The Union Minister also reminded the States to send the clinical and epidemiological pictures to assess genomic mutants of the pathogen to the coordinating the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics, INSACOG nodal officer.
Detailing the number of beneficiaries vaccinated in each targeted segment of the population, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also addressed the perceived issue of vaccine shortage.
He said, the total consumption of vaccines so far including wastage has been approximately 12, 57,18,000 doses against the 14.15 crore doses provided by the Centre to the States.
He said, nearly 1.58 crore doses are still available with the States while more than 1.16 crore doses are in pipeline which will be delivered to the States by next week.
Emphasizing that there is no shortage of vaccine, the Health Minister strongly pushed for the further ramping up of vaccination exercise.
Dr Vardhan also detailed the corresponding rise in Health Infrastructure to cope with the crisis.
He said, from just one lab at the start of the Pandemic, there are now 2463 labs.
He also informed that the three-tier health infrastructure to treat COVID according to severity now includes 2084 dedicated COVID Hospitals, over four thousand Dedicated COVID Health Centres and 12,673 COVID Care Centres.
During the meeting, Dr Vardhan also assured a fresh supply of the lifesaving machines and said that 1,121 ventilators are to be given to Maharashtra, 1,700 to Uttar Pradesh, 1,500 to Jharkhand, 1,600 to Gujarat, 152 to Madhya Pradesh and 230 ventilators to Chhattisgarh.
During the meeting, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan informed the States on the steps taken for providing medical grade oxygen and augmenting Remdesivir stocks in the country.
They were also informed of the issuance of the calendar of Medical Oxygen Supply to the States from different oxygen manufacturers in the country.
The steps taken for unhindered movement of oxygen cylinders from their manufacturing units across States were also detailed.
The State Health Ministers shared a brief snapshot of the actions taken for containment, surveillance and treatment of the COVID positive cases along with best practices of their States.
Many of them raised the issue of dovetailing the Medical Oxygen supply lines and the capping of prices of essential drugs like Remdesivir which has been sold in the black market at exorbitant prices.
Double mutant strain in Maharashtra was also a key point of concern. Delhi government requested for additional beds in central government hospitals.