The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been tasked to establish major COVID-19 medical facilities in four major Indian cities: New Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, and Patna. The facilities in New Delhi and Patna will be staffed by medical professionals from the Armed Forces Medical Corps (AFMC), with doctors from the Army Medical Corps (AMC) at the forefront.
A 500 bed Coronavirus facility is being set up by the DRDO near Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. The hospital is touted to have complete support of oxygen with half of the beds to be operational by 19 April 2021. A 1,000-bed facility was set up last year and was subsequently shuttered in February 2021 after a drop in Coronavirus numbers in the capital. Personnel from AFMC will be assigned to staff the hospital. The cost of treatment at the center will be borne by the government. Beneficiaries will simply be required to submit a copy of their RT-PCR test report and Aadhaar card, for the purpose of admission.
Two 1,000 bed facilities are to be set up at the Haj House on Kanpur road and the Golden Blossom Resort on Faizabad road in the city of Nawabs. The centers are expected to be operational sometime within the next few days. The city at the moment is a Coronavirus hotspot and is experiencing an absolute shortage of critical healthcare supplies such as oxygen, ventilators, beds among other essential medical supplies. The situation in the city is dire to the point that crematoriums and graveyards no longer have space. The brunt of the virus is not felt by the city along, the entire State of Uttar Pradesh at large has more than 4,000 active cases with its Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath having also contracted the Coronavirus.
Ahmedabad & Patna
The DRDO is setting up a 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujrat at the behest of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Medical personnel from the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), comprising of 25 doctors and 75 paramedics will be assigned to this DRDO COVID-19 facility. Assistance from the DRDO has also been by the Bihar State government, as Coronavirus cases soar in the city of Patna. The city administration has requested the Defence Secretary to deploy 50 doctors from the AFMC and from the Indian Army’s AMC to staff the center. Army doctors will be converting the State Insurance Hospital there into a 500 bed COVID-19 hospital.
Going beyond the call of duty
“Army doctors are proud to be standing in the frontline in this crisis and to serve the nation is their biggest motivation,” commented Indian Army Spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand when asked about this development, while Surgeon Captain (Dr.) Arun Behl VSM (Retd), a former Oncosurgeon in the Indian Navy and presently a Senior Consultant Oncosurgery at Fortis Hospital in Mumbai said, “Whenever there is a natural calamity the armed forces are among the first to be called out to assist. I am surprised that even after the success of the first facility of 1,000 beds made in Delhi, the government has been slow to ask the armed forces. Anyway, better late than never. I am sure these facilities manned by armed forces doctors will do yeoman service in these extremely testing times.”