Govt distances from bad quality PPEs, says its procuring from tested suppliers
Ministry of health says it only procures PPE kits from manufacturers tested by 8 labs cleared by the ministry of textiles.Updated: May 25, 2020 15:17 IST
The central ministry of health has reacted to media reports alleging bad quality PPE (personal protection equipment) kits were exposing medical care professionals to risks in several parts of the country and said the bad-quality products referred to in the reports are not cleared by government agencies and added that there was no shortage of approved and tested PPES and N-95 masks which have been supplied in ample quantities to states and union territories to be used while handling coronavirus patients or suspects.
“There are some reports in a section of the media expressing concern about the quality of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) coveralls. The products under reference have no relevance to the procurement being made by the Central Government,” an official statement from the ministry of health stated on Monday.
While the statement doesn’t mention the reports in particular that made the claim, however, a few in the past days have questioned the quality of the PPEs supplied locally to medical professionals in Ghaziabad. A prominent Hindi daily had claimed that some new kits produced and procured locally were found to be worn out and torn in places. It blamed the poor quality of kits to be among the reasons for the government doctors and other healthcare professionals catching the disease in the district. The UP government then decided to ban local procurement. Another report had cited complaints regarding poor quality PPE kits by some surgeons in Ludhiana Civil Hospital.
The ministry of health in its statement said that the central government had cleared PPE manufacturers and suppliers after applying stringent quality testing standards set by the ministry of textiles.
“HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), the procuring agency of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is procuring PPE coveralls from manufacturers/suppliers only after getting their coveralls tested and approved by one of the eight labs nominated by the Ministry of Textiles (MoT) for testing the same. It is only after their products qualify in the test prescribed by the technical committee (JMG) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, that they are procured,” the ministry explained.
It added that random sampling of the supplies is also being made and the company that fails to meet the standards is being disqualified for any future procurement.
“All the States/UTs have been asked to ensure procurement which is being carried out at their level after following the prescribed testing for PPEs from MoT nominated labs. In addition, manufacturers who have got their products qualified from these labs are also being on-boarded on Government e-Marketplace (GeM),” the statement adds.
The ministry said the information about qualified and approved manufacturers and suppliers was available on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) for the states and the private sector to use.
The ministry further pointed out that there was no shortage of safety equipment and essentials as the country had ramped up its domestic production capacity of PPEs and N95 masks and the requirements of the States/UTs are being sufficiently met.
“Today, the country is producing more than 3 lakh PPEs and N95 masks per day. States/UTs as well as Central Institutions have been provided with around 111.08 lakh N-95 masks and around 74.48 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” said the ministry.