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Rajnath Singh reviews preparedness for fighting growing COVID cases; AFMS deploys more doctors to help Civil Administration

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The minister expressed satisfaction on the assistance being provided by Indian Air Force (IAF) in moving oxygen tankers and plants from abroad as well as within the country.

In the second meeting this week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the preparedness of Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces to deal with the growing number of COVID-19 cases.

What did the Defence Minister say?

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He has directed the Armed Forces and various other establishments of MoD to extend all possible assistance to the civilian administration to tide over the present situation. And in an effort to augment the work force of health professionals, the minister has approved a suggestion to deploy those who have recently retired from AFMS (Armed Forces Medical Services).

The minister expressed satisfaction on the assistance being provided by Indian Air Force (IAF) in moving oxygen tankers and plants from abroad as well as within the country.

During the review meeting on Saturday afternoon, the defence minister was briefed about the transport aircraft of the IAF being put into service for airlifting oxygen tanks. As reported earlier, one C-17 IAF transport plane which had left in the morning for Singapore will be returning later tonight with four containers of cryogenic oxygen tanks. Also since Saturday morning one C-17 transported two empty container trucks for liquid oxygen from Pune to Jamnagar and another transported two empty oxygen containers from Jodhpur to Jamnagar.

Also, one Chinook airlifted medical equipment for testing COVID from Jammu to Leh.

The Indian Navy is on a standby to provide any assistance in moving the Oxygen tankers.

DRDO is expected to add another 250 beds by late Saturday evening to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel COVID hospital in New Delhi , taking the total to 500 beds.

The minister was informed that in Gujarat, a 1,000-bed hospital has become operational and the work is in full swing to establish a COVID facility in Lucknow. The Lucknow facility will be fully functional in the next 5-6 days, according an official issued by the Ministry of Defence at the end of the review meeting.

These hospitals are going to be run by AFMS in coordination and with assistance of local state governments.

And finally, the service of the local doctors and health professionals is likely to be enlisted for the 750 beds hospital coming up soon in Varanasi.

Who attended the meeting?

The meeting was attended by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sandeep Singh and Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Surg Vice Admiral Rajat Datta.

Also present were the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Sathish Reddy.

AFMS Deploys more doctors

Earlier today, to cater to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) has deployed additional doctors, including specialists, super specialists and paramedics, at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) COVID hospital in Delhi.

According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Saturday, April 24, 2021, this year within three days manpower mobilization has been accomplished. This time these highly-skilled specialists and super specialists have been deployed in the facility from the already stretched resources from the service hospitals.

As compared to 2020

Last year 294 doctors and health workers and this year 378 have been mobilized and these include 164 doctors as against 132 doctors in 2020. While last year there only 18 specialists, this time there are 43 specialists and 17 super specialists.

This time the number of patients being treated at the facility are in excess of more than 85% at any given point of time and according to the MoD its more than eight times compared to last year’s worst peak.

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