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Madhya Pradesh Prisoners Are Developing PPE KitsFor Healthcare Workers Fighting COVID-19

Madhya Pradesh Prisoners Are Developing PPE KitsFor Healthcare Workers Fighting COVID-19
There have been 229 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
New Delhi: 

As per the National Preparedness Survey on COVID-19, conducted by the Ministry of Personnel, Madhya Pradesh is facing an issue faced by almost every country across the globe - low availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to fight COVID-19. With an aim to help reduce the shortage of safety gear for medical staff in this fight, Madhya Pradesh health officials have taken the help of some prisoners to come up with a low-cost personal protective equipment (PPE) kit. 

In view of the growing demand for safety gear for the healthcare workers, the health officials in Betul district, of Madhya Pradesh have prepared their own personal protective equipment (PPE) with the help of prisoners of the district jail.

In a directive issued on Saturday, Madhya Pradesh Health Commissioner Faiz Ahmed Kidwai said there is limited availability of PPE kits and N95 masks, so these safety gears should be used rationally during the battle against coronavirus. While Betul's Chief Medical and Health Officer, Dr G C Chourasia said, 

We have developed our own PPE kit including a robe stitched by prisoners lodged at the district jail. The raw material required for this locally made kit was procured from the neighbouring Chhindwara district, with the help of funds provided by the local MP. The prisoners had earlier also prepared masks which have been provided to the local health workers.

He further said that the prisoners have so far provided 30 protective robes to the health team at Betul district hospital.

As part of the PPE kit, the health officials have also made a 'face shield' of plastic which can be used along with the robes. Dr. Chourasia credited Betul's Shahpur block medical officer Dr Shailendra Sahu, saying he is responsible for preparing the face shield with locally available material, after seeing some foreign videos of the safety gear. 

After finding that such a face shield was not available online or in the local market, the prisoners as instructed by Dr. Sahu prepared it with plastic sheets used in the packing of sarees, hair bands, tapes and adhesives. This is also a part of the PPE kit being distributed to the health staff of Betul, he said. 

The robe in the PPE kit costs around Rs 150 and ensures the safety of health workers, Dr Chourasia said. 

The quality of this protective robe made by the prisoners, is at par with the product of any big company, claims Dr. Chourasia. 

Meanwhile, the Health Commissioner Mr. Kidwai has directed the medical staff of Madhya Pradesh to ensure mandatory use of PPE. He has also directed the health staff to adopt other safety measures like washing hands frequently and maintaining distance from each other along with the use of PPE. The state health department currently has about 18,911 PPE kits, 72,304 N95 masks and 1.76 lakh three-layered masks, he said.

There have been 229 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh, out of which 13 have succumbed to the deadly virus, according to the data by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.  

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COVID-19 remains a health emergency and a deadly threat, especially to the most vulnerable. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been responding to the global pandemic since it began. MSF doctors and nurses are treating patients and supporting communities across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia.

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The global prices for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) have been fluctuating  dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this the price mentioned for a full PPE kit - face protection, goggles and mask or face shield, gloves, gown or coverall, head cover, rubber boots - may not reflect the final purchase price. As well as being able to procure PPE in necessary numbers, MSF also requires it to be of a necessary standard. The volatility of the global PPE market is likely to continue, which is why MSF has been calling for a form of regulation to allow equitable and reliable distribution of medical equipment and PPE that is of necessary minimum quality.

The cost mentioned is for a kit for a caregiver and not a single PPE kit.​​