Amid the shortage of safety gear for medical staff in the fight against coronavirus, Madhya Pradesh health officials with the help of some prisoners have come up with a low-cost personal protective equipment kit.
State health commissioner Faiz Ahmed Kidwai has also called for rational use of PPE kits, which the health care workers and those deployed at quarantine centres, hospitals and laboratories need the most at this crucial time.
In view of the growing demand for safety gear by those treating coronavirus patients, the health officials in Betul have prepared their own personal protective equipment (PPE) with the help of prisoners of the district jail.
"We have developed our own PPE kit, which includes 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," Betul's Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr G C Chourasia said.
The prisoners earlier prepared masks which have been provided to the local health workers, he said.
Betul district hospital's medical officer Dr Ankita Seete said. The prisoners have so far provided 30 protective robes to the health team.
As part of the PPE kit, the health officials have also made a 'face shield' out of plastic which can be used along with the robes.
Betu's Shahpur block medical officer Dr Shailendra Sahu said he has prepared 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, we prepared it with the plastic sheets used in the packing of sarees, hair bands, tapes and adhesives. This is also included in the PPE kit being given to the health staff of the district," Sahu said.
The robe in the PPE kit costs around Rs 150 and ensures the safety of health workers, said Yogesh Pandagre, the MLA from Amla assembly seat of the district, who is also a doctor and has helped in preparing the kit.
"The quality of this protective robe is at par with the product of any big company, he claimed.
Meanwhile, health commissioner Kidwai directed the medical staff across the state for judicious use of PPE.
In a directive issued on Saturday, he said there is limited availability of PPE kits and N95 masks, so these safety gears should be used rationally during the battle against coronavirus.
Kidwai 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, an official said.