Sustaining the fight against the scourge of the second wave of Covid in the country, the Ministry of Railways is making all-out efforts to facilitate the health care services to State Governments in unprecedented times. In a bid to address the problem of bed crunch in hospitals amid the rising COVID-19 cases, Indian Railways has started to deploy isolation coaches at various places for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
To serve as an additional health care facility and to assist the states, the isolation coaches have been prepared for Covid patients with mild and moderate symptoms. As of now, 4,000 Covid Care Coaches with 64,000 beds have been made available at various railway stations in the country. In this regard, the state governments have been advised on the Modalities & Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and informed about the availability of Covid care coaches.
Covid care coaches deployed in four states
Isolation coaches in the high-covid-afflicted zones positioned include four states. Delhi in which 50 coaches with 800 beds are deployed at Shakurbasti station where four patients are currently admitted, while 25 coaches with around 400 beds have been positioned at the Anand Vihar Terminal. Maharashtra’s Nandurbar has 21 coaches dedicated for Covid Care Isolation with 378 beds and it is currently serving 55 patients. Bhopal and Jabalpur station in the state of Madhya Pradesh has twenty coaches each as Covid Care Centre. 50 coaches have been prepared for deployment in Punjab.
Re-mobilised Coaches with add-on Conveniences
Covid Care Coaches have been modified to cater to the patients in the best possible manner. Modifications have been done with additionally adding coolers, jute-mats to cater to the current hot weather conditions. The newly modified coaches have been divided into 8 cabins which hold 16 beds dedicated for patients. The coaches have all the facilities and equipment required including oxygen cylinders, mosquito nets, bio-toilets and power sockets. Space has been created to hold IV fluid bottles, extra bottle holders in these coaches while clamps have been provided to hang them.
From maintaining basic infrastructure to maintaining the hygiene of the coaches and premises, the Railways is making all efforts to cater to Covid patients. According to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indian Railways and the state government has decided upon sharing the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure of Covid Care Coaches.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has been deployed to provide security at the platform area and station premises. The district administration has been given the responsibility of other infrastructure facilities including refilling of oxygen cylinders, waste disposal, catering to doctors and paramedical staff, facilitating ambulance and overall supervision.