PM directs officials to ensure sufficient availability of essential medical equipment

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a meeting of the various empowered groups set up to respond to the coronavirus threat and directed officials to ensure sufficient availability of all essential medical equipment such as personal protective equipment, masks, gloves and ventilators.

Modi reviewed countrywide preparedness regarding availability of hospitals, proper isolation and quarantine facilities as well as disease surveillance, testing and critical care training, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

At the joint meeting of the empowered groups constituted for planning and ensuring implementation of COVID-19 response, the prime minister also directed the groups and officials concerned to ensure sufficient production, procurement and availability of all essential medical equipment such as PPEs, masks, gloves and ventilators, the PMO said in a series of tweets.

The government last Sunday constituted 11 empowered groups to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce misery of people as quickly as possible post the 21-day lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

These groups are empowered to identify problem areas and provide effective solutions, delineate policy, formulate plans, strategise operations and take all necessary steps for effective and time-bound implementation of plans, strategies or decisions in their respective areas, a notification issued by Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla had said.

Out of these 11 empowered groups, nine are headed by secretary-level officers, one by a NITI Aayog member and one by the NITI Aayog CEO.

The groups that were constituted include empowered group on medical equipment and management plan, empowered group on availability of hospitals, empowered group on essential drugs, medical equipment, empowered group on augmenting human resources by MSME and empowered group on facilitating supply chain and logistics management.

Besides them, the empowered group on coordinating with private sector NGOs and international organisations, empowered group on public grievances and suggestions, empowered group on public awareness, empowered group on technology, empowered group on strategic issues relating to lockdown and empowered group on economy and welfare, have been set up.