Healthcare workers are the most precious assets a nation possesses. They are the ones who have the capability of handling the burden of infectious disease and gift life to the infected ones. Even the coronavirus pandemic outbreak has proved how meticulously these workers have been performing their tasks irrespective of the risks imposed on their lives. Therefore, it is the core responsibility of the government nationwide to provide a complete armamentarium to these brave fighters. And, the armamentarium includes personal protective equipment, investigation set-ups, goggles, masks, medicines, and a strong financial system to support the production of these necessities. Moreover, it is not just the responsibility of the government to provide safeguarding assistance and look after the well-being of these healthcare workers, rather a combined responsibility of employers, policymakers, and health administrators.
As the COVID-19 continues to infect more and more people across the world, the demand for personal protective equipment for nurses, doctors, paramedics, sourcing consultants, and health volunteers also started reaching new heights with each passing day. The PPE gears are specifically designed to give protection to the workers wearing them in order to minimize their exposure to the dangerous virus. There are seven items present in personal protective equipment as mentioned in the Health Ministry Guidelines: N-95 masks, goggles, gloves, face shields, coveralls, shoe covers, and headcovers. And, three types of PPE are there, such as consumer, industrial, and healthcare.
According to the media, India barely had to manufacture 47000 PPE kits in a year before the pandemic hit. With the entry of COVID-19 in India, the manufacturing rate of PPE kits also started increasing. As the COVID-19 infection started to rise with no sign of slowing its rate of spreading, the country had no other option than to double its production rate to provide assistance to the healthcare workers. India started producing PPE kits in its local and regional markets to protect the frontline warriors. In no time, the regional production volume of PPE kits jumpstarted, and within a short period, the manufacturers started producing 200000 PPE kits and N-95 masks regularly. It was only a week’s time when the production rate increased from 300000 per day to almost 450000 per week. This could only become possible with the ‘Make in India’ mission launched by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The success story behind this mission demonstrated how India, with its immense power and determination, could match sudden demand with its resources and quality supplies.
How India could make it through the storm?
India’s will power and resources could weather the storm of the deadly virus to a great extent. India had to protect it’s frontline warriors if she had to save the lives of millions. Despite the potential hiccups, India proved to the world that it could definitely become the leading manufacturer of PPE. This would only become possible if the manufacturers could resolve the quality and production issues on time. No wonder, this will power of the India procurement freelancers made India stand in the second position in the production of PPE coveralls, next to China.
In the first weeks of May, when the World Health Organization declared an acute shortage in the production of PPE kits across the world, India decided to stand for itself. India too, at that time, was running short of PPE kits and was completely dependent on the imports for the PPE requirements. It was in a month’s time, probably by the end of April, when India started to look out for its domestic manufacturing areas and started analyzing its manufacturing potential. And, it was the beginning of May when the production capacity experienced a sudden surge of 12000 PPE produced per day. The number then jumped and made it around 200000 units per day, which doubled its production capacity to produce nearly 450000 units per week.
Initially, the government was relying on the sourcing consultants of fifty-two companies that were producing the PPE kits, such as Alok Industries, JCT Phagwara, Gokaldas Exports, and Aditya Birla. Now, there are almost six hundred companies certified to produce PPE kits to meet the high demand for essential medical devices.
As India has been infamous for the complicated bureaucracy, it did not take more than a few days to certify its regional PPE manufacturers to produce the required quantity of PPE. This was also a means acquired by the Indian government to attract foreign investors.
Apart from the pharmaceutical departments, the health ministry, and the textile ministry also laid their helping hands in helping the India procurement freelancers streamline the supply chain, maintaining an uninterrupted supply of the required medical devices for the healthcare workers, and removing barriers on a 24* basis. This way India could fight back the infectious virus to some extent and demonstrated its unstoppable manufacturing capacity to the world.