The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), has said in a letter to the Narendra Modi government, that no fewer than 40,000 newly made ventilators are lying unused as the second COVID-19 wave devastates the country.
In a letter to Sanjeeva Kumar, member secretary of the National Disaster Management Authority, the chamber said that these unused ventilators were made under the Prime Minister Cares Fund last year but remain idle at government facilities either because of a shortage of intensivists, or lack of oxygen.
"The government needs to devise a way to identify those ventilators immediately and provide them to private healthcare facilities that are treating COVID-19 patients and need more ventilators," FICCI said.
The scandal has been revealed as stories reverberate around the country each day about ambulances having to queue to get access to hospitals, bodies piling up outside crematoriums and graveyards for hours, and basic medical facilities seemingly crumbling because of a lack of beds and ventilators.
The trade chamber also suggested a series of steps to the central government, including speeding up the vaccination drive and maintaining a supply of essential medicines, to tackle the rising cases of COVID-19.
"There is an urgent need to streamline national hospital admissions for COVID-19 to help reduce the burden of non-essential COVID admissions, providing beds for those in critical need," the letter read.
They also suggested that Ayurveda and Yoga are tremendously beneficial and they encouraged the government to promote the adoption of traditional medicine to help develop immunity among the population.
Meanwhile, they lambasted the government for a lack of communication.
"Effective communication and continuous, clear directions from all government departments helped us to navigate the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, communications during the second wave have been neither adequate nor clear. It is important that government authorities communicate effectively on all progress as well as the challenges faced to garner appropriate support from the industry as well as the public at large," FICCI remarked.
Over the past month, India has witnessed a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. According to the health ministry, India recorded a high of 412,262 new cases and 3,980 deaths in the past 24 hours.