New Delhi [India], May 1 (ANI): As the younger population of the nation becomes eligible for vaccination against coronavirus today on Saturday, the armed forces have formulated a plan to aid the inoculation drive and anti Covid efforts across the nation by providing health requirements of various states --transporting oxygen, ensuring nursing and medical assistance.
Speaking to ANI Deputy Chief Integrated Defence Staff (Medical) Lieutenant General Madhuri Kanitkar assured that armed forces are ready to aid the vaccination drive and provide medical assistance including transportation of empty oxygen tanks to various states.
This initiative being done by giving the local military commanders or area commanders authority to coordinate with the state governments on Covid front. All these steps come at a time of growing number of coronavirus cases across the country which have led the armed forces to launch operation 'Co-Jeet' to win the war against it.
"The armed forces are in this together. We are calling it Co-Jeet. Because we need to win this war on Covid. yeh jung hai yeh jeetni hai. (This is a war and we need to win it). All the armed forces are cooperating with each other on this," Kanitkar said today.
The armed forces have also ramped up the facilities to aid the overstretched health infrastructure of the states. It is helping the local administration to ensure hospital beds and treatment for the needy. The senior officer of the army reassured that the forces are helping the local administration to ensure immediate treatment for the people in need.
"We have left logistics of beds to the local military authorities to liaise with the local state governments and with the district authorities. If they direct any civilian patient, we take them in. This is the process," added Kanitkar.
Elaborating the assistance being provided and the role being played by the armed forces in dealing with pandemic, Lt Gen Kanitkar said: "We are doing a few things. Firstly, on the logistics point, the three armed forces are working collectively under the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff. The army has provided the railway coaches which are usually used for transportation of military goods for transportation of oxygen tankers."
"Secondly, lot of battlefield nursing assistance is being provided ( to aid state's infrastructure). They are soldiers who are trained but who are now helping doctors and paramedics and finally the armed forces have also provided almost 200 truck drivers to transport oxygen across the country," she added.
"The Indian Airforce, on its part, has done sorties to transport, both internally and externally, bringing in oxygen tankers from Singapore Dubai and other countries. Last few days the Air force has been flying these tankers inside the country to the areas that required oxygen," she said.
Elaborating on how the help is extended to the states by the armed forces coordinated effort to deal with COVID-19 patients, Kanitkar said: "There are two ways to aid - one is efforts and outreach by Central government. The three chiefs of the armed forces have assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi of all the support. Secondly, district authorities liaise with local military authority and get what they need. Health is a state subject and every state will have a different requirement. Based on the state's requirements army commanders provide the support."
On what transpired at the recent meeting that Chief of Defence Staff general Bipin Rawat and Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kanitkar said both have reassured the PM of full support in the nation's battle against the virus.
"I have gathered that they ( CDS and Chief of Army Staff) have reassured that the armed forces will help out. In times of need, we are part of the nation and we get to work and do as much as can be done," said Kanitkar.
Deputy Chief Integrated Defence Staff (Medical) Kanitkar spoke at length about how the medical workforce that earlier used to work for armed forces personnel is also looking after veterans and dependents.
"The same work force is treating the personnel, dependents and veterans who normally were being cared for by the empanelled hospitals. Doors of army hospitals have been opened for civilians as well, " she said.
Commenting on how the army is taking care of armed forces personnel dependents, Kanitkar said that the first day the vaccine is given, nodal officers will liaise with the states which are giving free vaccines.
"For the rest, we have liased with Serum Institute of India. We have organised system for dependents of personnel," said Kanitkar.
Those between age of 18 years to 44 years are eligible to get the vaccine against Covid virus from today.
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