How DRDO built a Covid hospital in Delhi in 12 days

by Editorial

When the number of Covid-19 cases in Delhi was rising rapidly, the Central government decided to quickly build a hospital for corona patients in the city. India’s premier Defence and Research Organisation (DRDO) played its important role in building this hospital with all the required amenities in record time.

 Speaking to The Daily Guardian, Dr Narendra Kumar Arya, Director Public Interface, DRDO, said, “Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid hospital was established by DRDO in 12 days as per vision of the Prime Minister and under able guidance of the Defence Minister and the Home Minister. Patients are admitted in ICU now and are under treatment by Armed Forces Medical Services medical and paramedical teams.”

Last week Defence Rajnath Singh along with Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visited 1,000-bedded hospital with 250 intensive care units (ICU) beds. The facility was built in a record time of 12 days by the DRDO along with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the armed forces, Tata Sons and other industry players.

The Defence Minister was also accompanied by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy. During this visit, while interacting with the DRDO top officials, Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction after visiting the hospital. He appreciated the efforts of stakeholders in building this facility in such a short span of time.

The national capital is currently experiencing a surge in number of Covid-19 infections with an increasing number of patients requiring medical care. An urgent need to augment the existing hospital beds capacity of Delhi for the Covid-19 patients was discussed between the MHA and the MoD on the modalities of deploying a 1,000-bed hospital in a span of less than 14 days. The DRDO was asked to establish the hospital.

The DRDO undertook the design, development and operationalisation of the facility on a war footing. With the permission from the Indian Air Force (IAF), land situated near the New Delhi Domestic Airport Terminal T1 was identified and construction work by DRDO commenced the 23rd of June at the site on Ulan Batar Road adjacent to Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) Headquarters.The hospital is being operated by medical team of doctors, nurses and support staff from the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) while the facility will be maintained by the DRDO. Additionally, for the mental wellbeing of patients, the hospital has a dedicated DRDO managed psychological counselling centre.

The Covid-19 patients referred by the district administration are being admitted and treated free of cost at this facility. Critical cases are being referred to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

The project has been funded with major contribution of Tata Sons. Other contributors are Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Astra Microwave Products Limited (AMPL), Sri Venkateswara Engineers, Brahmos Private Limited, Bharat Forge and the DRDO employees voluntarily contributing one day salary.

About Covid hospital

The unique centrally air-conditioned medical facility is spread over 25,000 square metres and is equipped with 250 ICU beds. Each ICU bed is equipped with monitoring equipment and ventilator. The infrastructure is built with negative internal pressure gradient for safe contagion containment. The facility has been engineered using rapid fabrication technique based on octanorm modules.The hospital consists of a separate reception-cum-patient admission block, medical block with pharmacy and laboratory, duty doctors and nurses accommodation and four modular patient blocks each consisting of 250 beds. The corridor network has been designed to keep the patient’s movement separate from the doctors and staff movement. Sanitation facilities and toilets are situated between the blocks for easy access to patients and facility personnel.

The patient blocks are self-sufficient with facilities for patients and medical care staff. Patient facilities include oxygen supply to each bed, x-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), haematological test facilities, ventilators, COVID Test Lab, Wheel Chairs, Stretchers and other medical equipment.

The DRDO developed Covid-19 technologies productionised by the industry in the last 3 months such as ventilators, decontamination tunnels, personal protective equipment (PPEs), N95 masks, contact-free sanitiser dispensers, sanitisation chambers and medical robots trolleys being utilised at the facility. The facility is being secured with security staff, closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance and access control systems.

The hospital is equipped with an integrated fire safety and control system. Environmental safety and waste disposal processes have been built in to the design of operations. A large parking area has been designated for staff, public, ambulances and firefighting services.

The hospital has been made operational from first week of July, having been constructed in 12 days. Commissioning of this hospital has contributed to an increase of 11 per cent additional Covid-19 beds in Delhi, thus overcoming the current critical situation.

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