“India was largely an importer of these items... Our strategy has been to use this as an opportunity to develop our own technology and manufacturing capability,” the official said.
For instance, to meet the requirement for 75,000 ventilators by June, the government has identified seven companies to ramp up manufacturing. More than 60,000 ventilators have been ordered, of which 99 per cent will be supplied by local manufacturers.
“We have received the first lot and they are being tested. We should receive 15,000 ventilators this month,” Vaghela said.
The government also has placed orders for oxygen
cylinders — all from domestic manufacturers — for patients who get admitted to ICU. The pharma department is also considering the conversion of industrial oxygen
for medical use if the need arises.
India has also ramped up PPE manufacturing abilities. From 31,270 PPE kits capacity per day in mid-April, the domestic production has increased to 186,000 per day by April 30. “We hardly had any manufacturers of PPEs in the country... Now, we are making more than 100,000 per day,” the official added.
As of Friday, India had conducted 902,654 Covid-19 tests. The demand for RT-PCR test is estimated around 3.5 million for the next two months, against which the Indian Council of Medical Research has placed orders for 2.13 million kits. India has also increased the production of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) which is being used as a prophylactic drug from from 122.3 million in March to 300 million tablets per month in May, Vaghela said.