From zero to becoming top producer of PPE kits, India has come a long way in Coronavirus Pandemic

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India is now the world’s second-largest producer of PPE kits during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you go back to March, you had many on social media complaining about the lack of PPE kit in India. In fact, not just India, doctors in Germany started the get naked movement to bring the shortage of PPE kits to the notice of German politicians.

However, it is India that deserves applause. It started with zero manufacturing of PPE kits in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic was unleashed on humankind. Now, it has become the second-largest producer of PPE kits in the world. It not only provides the PPE kits for its health workers, doctors, and other agencies doing the coronavirus rehabilitation work, it is also helping out smaller countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, and exporting PPE kits to the Western countries.

What is a PPE Kit?

PPE or personal protective equipment is equipment to protect the doctor or the nurse against health or safety risks from infections at work. It includes items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Since Coronavirus is a fast infecting disease spreading through human transmission, it is important that all health workers around the world have PPE to protect themselves. After all, if the doctors themselves fall ill, who will look after us. Considering that COVID-19 has no vaccine and has a high fatality rate makes it imperative for the government/hospitals to provide the doctors/nurses and other healthcare workers to have PPEs while working.

How did India emerged as top PPE kit manufacturer

The call of India’s Prime Minister Modi and Textile Minister, Smriti Irani, helped the nascent PPE manufacturing sector scale new heights. Ministry of Textiles said it has been taking several steps to ensure that both quality and quantity of PPE coveralls going up to the desired levels within a very short span of time of two months, “thereby catapulting India into the world’s second-largest manufacturer of body coveralls, next only to China”.

At present, China is the top PPE kit manufacturer in the world. But recent concerns about the quality of Chinese PPE kits have hampered the production in China. India on the other hand has a robust quality control apparatus to test the PPE kits before they are released for use. The ministry under Smriti Irani took early steps to ensure that only certified players across the entire supply chain are allowed to supply body coveralls to government agencies and for export. The Textiles Committee, Mumbai set up its own testing and certification lab for PPE body coveralls with strict specifications.

We faced the humongous challenges of non-availability of domestic manufacturers of repute and incessant delay/long gestation period to import machine from China as also challenges of ever-increasing prices by the opportunist companies in China due to demand for such equipment the world over. We, therefore, decided to do it indigenously. With the acquisition of this equipment and with a concrete plan to add some more equipment as per need, we will be able to address not only the quantitative but also the qualitative requirements involved in the testing of body coveralls worn by the frontline health workers and other COVID-19 warriors.

Ajit Chavan, Secretary, Textiles Committee

Given the need for PPE kits to fight the growing menace of coronavirus Pandemic, the Indian government deserves a pat on the back form going from Zero to top.

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