The armed forces have continued to provide unstinted support to the Government during the second wave of Cocid19. From providing trained medical officers and paramedical staff, establishing hospitals to airlifting critical supplies from across the globe, repairing defunct oxygen plants to shipping medical supplies, they have been in the thick of action.
Establishing Hospitals: DRDO has set up/ is setting up hospitals at various cities and is manning them with more than 500 armed forces doctors and nurses. Concerted efforts are in hand to upgrade the facilities of armed forces’ hospitals which are being run beyond their capacity by the depleted medical manpower. Indian Army has mobilised two Field Hospitals, which include medical specialists, medical officers, nursing and support staff, from North East for establishing a 500 bedded hospital at ESI Patna. The Armed Forces Medical Services is recruiting 400 retired medical doctors, who were released from service between 2017 and 2019 to enhance its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Transportation of Medical Equipment and Supplies: A number of Army vehicles, Naval ships and Air Force aircraft are shuttling every day to ferry oxygen generators, medical supplies, lab equipment and medical personnel to COVID hotspots from domestic sources and abroad. Apart from the domestic flights, scores of sorties have been undertaken by IAF to get medical supplies and oxygen generators from Germany, Singapore, UAE, Oman, UK, Australia, Israel, Belgium and Thailand. Indian Navy Ships are bringing in similar shipments from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Singapore. The Navy has also proved to be the lifeline for our island territories. By 12 May 2021, IAF had airlifted 403 oxygen containers of 6,856 Metric Tonnes (MT) capacity along with other equipment of 163 MT capacity, in 634 sorties from different parts of the country. IAF has also conducted 98 sorties from different countries, airlifting 95 containers of 793 MT capacity and other equipment of 204 MT capacity. Seven Indian Naval Ships have shipped 260 MT of Liquid Medical Oxygen in 13 containers for direct supply to various states, eight oxygen containers of total capacity 160 MT, 2,600 oxygen filled cylinders and 3,150 empty cylinders for Oxygen from Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia.
Support Management: IAF is operating a Support Management Cell at Palam to efficiently coordinate distribution of all relief aid coming from foreign countries. Indian Army has established a COVID Management Cell under a Director General rank officer which reports directly to the Vice Chief of Army Staff. This will bring in greater efficiency in coordinating real time responses to address exponential rise in COVID cases across the country where assistance to civil administration is being provided.
On Line Consultation: Initiatives like SeHAT OPD, an internal online consultation platform for providing medical consultations to armed forces personnel and their dependents, eSanjeevani (https://esanjeevaniopd.in) the online consultation platform of MoHFW utilising the expertise of serving and retired service doctors have started to pay rich dividends.
Operational Efficiency: While the Armed Forces have committed every possible bit towards the national effort, there has been no compromise on the operational preparedness and national security.