Railways to deploy over 2,500 doctors, 35,000 paramedics to meet COVID-19 challenge

New Delhi, April 8: In a bid to strengthen the fight against coronavirus, the Indian Railways will deploy more than 2,500 doctors and 35,000 paramedic staff to meet the COVID-19 challenge, according to an official statement on Wednesday. The Health Department of the Railways is getting ready and equipped to supplement the healthcare efforts of the government in its fight against COVID-19.

It may be noted that Railways have a chain of 586 health units, 45 sub-divisional hospitals, 56 divisional hospitals, 8 production units hospitals and 16 zonal hospitals spread all over the country. A significant portion of these facilities will now be dedicated to combating the coronavirus.

With a total of 2,546 posts of doctors and 35,153 paramedic staff including nursing staff, pharmacist and other categories of staff, Railways is ready to face any challenge in the fight against COVID-19. In a new initiative, Railway Health Services have been made available to all Central government employees across the country now. The services include primary, secondary, and tertiary care in certain Specialties.

The following initiatives have been taken by Indian Railways–1. Conversion of coaches to serve as quarantine/isolation facilities: Indian Railways is converting 5000 train coaches across the country to serve as quarantine/isolation facilities for 80000 beds for COVID-19.Action has been started by Zonal Railways on a war footing. Conversion of 3250 coaches has already been completed.

2. 5000 beds earmarked for treatment of COVID patients: Around 5,000 beds in 17 dedicated hospitals and 33 hospital blocks in Railway Hospitals have been identified for treatment of COVID-19 patients. These hospitals and blocks are being made ready for this purpose.

3. 11,000 quarantine beds: 11,000 quarantine beds have been made available across the Indian Railways establishments to fight COVID-19.

4. Availability of medical equipment-Ventilators and PPEs: Availability of a sufficient number of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Ventilators etc. would be critical in the fight against COVID-19. Action has been taken by Railway zones and production units to procure ventilators, PPEs and medical equipment to meet their needs to fight COVID-19.

5. It may be noted that Railways has already started  In-house production of  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It is striving to produce around 1,000 PPEs per day which may be upscaled further.

6. Railway Health Services offered to all Central Government Employees: Railway Health Services have been made available to all Central Government Employees across the country on showing their Identity cards at the Railway Hospitals/Health Centres.

The Indian Railways is making an all-out effort to help the Centre in its efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus. The spectrum of steps includes equipping the existing Railway hospitals to meet the needs for COVID-19, earmarking of hospital beds to meet the contingencies, recruitment of additional doctors and paramedics, modification of passenger coaches as isolation coaches, availability of medical equipment, in-house production of PPEs and Ventilators, etc.