Ujjain: The Prime Minister has asked for an audit of installation and use of ventilators purchased from PM Cares fund. The audit seems to be a good idea to keep the officers occupied but its real purpose will be solved only when a quality audit is also carried out.
Here are a few pointers:
How open tender allowed for purchase of substandard products?
Was due process followed before placing the order?
Who were the experts involved in the purchasing process?
Did the GOI checked up with the hospitals and institutions, who already had the ventilators manufactured by these companies, about the performance, price and other relevant data...?
How companies with proven track record got eliminated from the tenders for bulk purchase?
What were the basic criteria / modes set for purchase of these ventilators?
The audit should also answer these questions. These answers should come from committee/ PMO/ policy makers and due action should be taken else the audit will be a sheer formality and waste of time and resources.
By the way, how many ventilators(units) were demanded by how many government hospitals? How was the number decided?
Why the private hospitals did not purchase even a single unit from the firms under scanner?
It is very important to realise and execute keeping in mind that the government has to work in the pandemic to save lives. Manufacturing, Buying or procuring any equipment, drug, oxygen has very serious implications.
It is an exercise to save people, save Humans and humanity. While things need to be expedited, at the same time the quality control, cost effectiveness has to be ensured. Personnel have to be deputed who can deliver the goods and furthermore need to be trained to manage the crisis.
Having said all this, we also need to find the answers to the following questions:
Who should be held accountable for all the lives lost in absence of a functional ventilator or a ventilator that functions but lacks the expertise to operate it?
At present it seems wishful thinking, but we hope the pandemic bids goodbye to mankind and leaves behind some sensitivity and respect for life.
Senior Consultant, Convener & Director
Super Specialty Services RD Gardi Hospital,