|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 235-236
Combating COVID-19 pandemic: The role of indian railways
Lalit Chandra Trivedi
General Manager, East Central Railway, Hajipur, Bihar, India
|Date of Submission||22-Jun-2020|
|Date of Decision||24-Jun-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||24-Jun-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||29-Jul-2020|
Lalit Chandra Trivedi
General Manager, East Central Railway, Ganga Darshan, Bankipore, Patna-4, Bihar
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Trivedi LC. Combating COVID-19 pandemic: The role of indian railways. Apollo Med 2020;17:235-6
With the responsibility of being the biggest Civilian Organization in the country, Indian Railways realized quite early that it will be required to play a major role in India's fight against COVID-19. In the initial days, the country was facing shortage of infrastructure, equipment, and consumables required to combat this pandemic.
The Indian Railways have fulfilled its duties in combating this pandemic in several important ways, as follows:
| In-House Manufacturing/procurement/use of Railway Hospitals|| |
The Indian Railways quickly developed facilities for in-house manufacturing of masks, sanitizer, PPE, etc., Furthermore, immediate large-scale procurement of various essential items such as surgical masks, N-95 masks, BiPAP ventilator, mechanical ventilator, hand gloves, oxygen (O2) cylinders, O2 concentrator, disposable linen, and infrared thermometer was initiated.
In addition, Railway hospitals were converted into COVID hospitals [Figure 1] by ensuring provision of ventilators, O2 cylinders, arrangement for disposal of biological wastes, dedicated separate entry and exit, etc.
|Figure 1: Photograph of a railway hospital converted into full-fledged COVID hospital|
Click here to view
The train coaches were converted for COVID CARE [Figure 2]. These were equipped with O2 cylinders, power points for equipment and mobiles, WiFi facility for communication, security, linen arrangement, and 24-h running water in toilets and bathroom. One toilet out of four in a coach was converted into bathroom. Cabins are separated by plastic curtains and mosquito nets have been provided in windows. Buckets, mugs, and other similar items have been provided. The coaches are kept at secluded places with independent entry and exit.
|Figure 2: Photograph of a railway coach converted into COVID care center|
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Interaction with the State Governments revealed that they would like Railway's help in remote areas where though railheads are available, government hospitals are not available. Thus, came the concept of hospitals on wheels and a decision was taken to convert 5000 coaches into “Mobile Hospital Units” for COVID-19 patients having mild symptoms. This initiative alone provided around 45,000 beds giving one cabin to one patient.
| Covid Testing Facility|| |
Railways took two types of initiatives for this and while in some hospitals like Southern Railway, Perambur, facility for “SWAB Collection” has been set up, which are then sent to government-authorized laboratories. In Northern Railway hospitals at Delhi, the Indian Railway has stated actual in-house testing of COVID-19. These measures have eased some burden from the already stressed government machinery.
| Running of “shramik Specials”|| |
At the short notice, Railways ran large number of “Shramik Specials” trains [Figure 3]. These helped ferrying more than 5 million migrant labors, to their native places, from the big cities of India.
| Downloading of “arogya Setu” App|| |
As on June 18, 2020, more than 1.8 million Railway employees, both serving and retired, along with their family members have downloaded “Arogya Setu” Apps, thus providing security cover to them.
| Financial Contribution|| |
Railway men in their personal capacity generously contributed to the Prime Minister's Care fund and Chief Minister Relief Fund for strengthening the government's efforts in their fight. All Railway men voluntarily gave up 1 day salary and also accepted deferment of their dearness allowance payment (without future payment of arrears) to strengthen government's finance.
The Railways have thus proven their worth and contribution toward the Nation, in combating this serious COVID-19 pandemic and truly justified the saying: “WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GETS GOING”.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]