Locally-made ventilators not good enough say Guj officials

    Ahmedabad, May 18 (PTI) Authorities in the civil
hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's worst coronavirus-hit city,
have said ventilators built by a firm in Rajkot and supplied
free of cost in large numbers to government facilities last
month were not giving "desired results" on COVID-19 patients.
    State Health principal secretary Jayanti Ravi said the
ventilators, with the brand name 'Dhaman-1', supplied at a
time when there is huge demand for them due to the virus
outbreak, will be upgraded by the manufacturing firm.
    Ahmedabad Civil Hospital Medical Superintendent JV
Modi had written to the managing director of Gandhinagar-based
Gujarat Medical Services Corporation Limited (GMSCL) for 50
'high-end' ICU ventilators for the 1,200-bed COVID-19
facility, the largest of its kind in the state.
    The letter comes at a time when the hospital has been
given 230 'Dhaman-1' ventilators, which a doctor here said
cannot be termed "high end".
    Quoting the head of the anesthesia department of
the BJ Medical College, affiliated to the Civil Hospital, Modi
said, in the letter dated May 15, that they are not getting
"desired result" from Dhaman-1 and AGVA ventilators (both
indigenously produced) on COVID-19 patients.
    "We have placed demand for 50 high-end ICU ventilators
each for COVID Hospital and Kidney Hospital. With rising
coronavirus cases, we need more number of ventilators, as per
the demand received by head of anesthesia department," Modi
    Amid global shortage of high-end ventilators during
the outbreak, Rajkot-based Jyoti CNC Automation had developed
low-cost ventilators in just 10 days in early April, and
offered 1,000 pieces free-of-cost to the state government
under CSR.
    These ventilators were supplied to government
hospitals across the state to meet rising demand, Principal
Secretary (Health), Jayanti Ravi said.
    "The ventilator was tested and approved by Electronics
and Quality Development Centre (EQDC). Our expert doctors also
approved it," Ravi said.
    She said accessories like high-flow nasal canula,
oxygen flow meter, circuits and humidifier would be
incorporated in them to make them more effective, she said.
    Civil Hospital Head of anesthesia Shailesh Shah said
Dhaman-1 ventilator in its present form is not as good as what
one would term a "high-end ventilator".
    "Luckily, until now, we used these ventilators on very
few occasions, as high-end ventilators were available with us
in enough numbers. Dhaman-1 is not a good replacement for
high-end ventilators, but it can be used in dire emergency
when you have nothing else at hand," said Shah.
    Over the past week, however, the number of coronavirus
patients requiring ventilator support has been increasing at
the hospital, and depending on Dhaman-1 units was not a good
idea, he claimed.
    "We had around 100 ventilators in a 150-bed ICU of
COVID hospital. With increasing demand, we have managed to
source around 45-47 high-end ventilators from other medical
colleges in Gujarat.
    "The problem is good quality ventilators are not
available in the market. It is very difficult for us or for
the government to procure such ventilators. In such a
situation, we have to compromise with the lower version," he
    Till Sunday evening, Ahmedabad district reported 8,420
coronavirus positive cases, with 524 having died of the
infection. The number of active cases stands at 5,236. PTI KA

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)