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Cheaper versions of ventilators bought at higher rates

Cheaper versions of ventilators bought at higher rates

Jul 15, 2020 - 14:07

FEROZKOH (Pajhwok): Officials in western Ghorinfo-icon province have purchased four respiratory devices (BIPAP machines) in the name of ventilators at a price that is 2.4 million afghanis higher than the market rate.

The four devices purchased by the local administration pass for ventilators. In fact, they are BIPAP machines, which were bought at a rate that is at least 2.4 million afghanis higher than the market price.

The four kilograms BIPAP machines -- DM28-30ST-BP -- are made in China, costing $1,400 apiece in Kabulinfo-icon.

The Public Healthinfo-icon Department says a total of nine ventilators are available in the province. Five of them existed before the spread of the coronavirus.

Four others were purchased with the provincial budget for fighting Covid-19 after the outbreak of the virus.

Six of these devices are being used in the specialised hospital for Covid-19 patients and three others are available at the main provincial hospital.

Well-paced sources, meanwhile, revealed it was not yet known whether the four devices included in the list of the Ministry of Public Health were ventilators or something else.

Ghulam Nabi Yagana, director of the Covid-19 Hospital in Ghor, told Pajhwok Afghan News that his facility received two ventilators from the provincial hospital. The two machines are being used. The four other devices purchased in the name of ventilators had not been put into service yet, he said.










Asked why the newly-purchased devices were not being utilised, he responded: “We are currently using the two ventilators received from the provincial hospital carefully. Our doctors have been trained in Herat on how to use them.”

Nabi added: “The four devices (BIPAP machines), which are called ventilators, are small and different from standard ventilators. They are currently in the warehouse.

“We have informed the Public Health Department that these machines are small and we are not familiar with them. We are wondering whether these devices are ventilators or something else.”

He suggested the Public Health Department should probe the issue and determine whether or not the four devices are ventilators.









According to him, the two devices at the Covid-19 Hospital were larger in size and the labels on them read “ventilators”. These two devices were standard and effective tools for coronavirus patients, he said.

Fahim Delawar, deputy director of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (CHA), which is providing health services under a contract to covid-19 Hospital in Ghor, said: “It is unclear that these four devices are actually ventilators.

“We have not been given responsibility for looking after them. I have told the public health director that the devices cannot be understood. I also shared the issue with Kabul officials and sent them the serial numbers of the machines as well.”

Pajhwok shared the photos of the four devices with a Kabul-based company that imports medicines and medical equipment.An official of the firm, who did not want to be named, said: “This is an early version of a ventilator -- not an advanced variety.”

He insisted the devices could not be used to treat critical patients. “These machines can be useful for patients with minor respiratory problems and those whose lungs have no issues. These devices are unable to work like standard ventilators.”

But Juma Gul Yaqubi, director of public health, claimed: “These four devices are ventilators; we purchased the machines because their usage is easy.We already have five ventilators but no one knows how to operate them.”

The director argued: “We have purchased these devices because they are easier to use and are more efficient.After surfing the Internet, we came to know that these are the best tools to combat Covid-19.”

Regarding the statement of the Covid-19 Hospital director, Yaqubi said: “They have not complained to us about any of the devices so far.”

Abdul Samad Ahmadi, finance and administrative director at the governor’s house, said: “We have purchased the four devices in accordance with orders from the Public Health Department. These are really advanced machines. Doctors may have their own problems in terms of their inability to operate them.”

He said he had not received any complaint that the four devices were not effective for serious Covid-19 patients.

The four devices were purchased by Parsa Brothers, the winner of the bidding held in Kabul. The BasirParsa, director, who did not want to share details, said: “We purchased the devices in accordance with the order we received (DM28-30ST-BP). There would have been problems for us if we had bought any machine against the order.”

He continued: “We purchased these devices along with other equipment from a company in Kabul and transported them to Ghor.” However, he stopped short of naming the company.

Higher price

According to sources, the four devices are not standard, but they were purchased at a rate is about four times higher than current market price and seven times higher than the original cost.

Considering the previous prices offered by a company, the four devices have been bought collectively at a price that is 2.4 million afghanis higher. Based on the current market price, these devices were purchased at rates that are 2.7 million afghanis higher.

Abdul Samad Ahmadi said each of the four devices had been purchased for 795,000 afghanis.

But the head of a Kabul-based medicine-importing company, who declined to be named, claimed the purchase price of the devices cited by Ahmadi was very high.

He said: “The price of these devices is lower than that of standard ventilators. When there was a shortage of the machines in the market, the price of this device was $2,500 (193,000afs), but now it has fallen to $1,400 (108,080afs) in Kabul.”

The four kilograms respiratory machines are called BIPAP devices, made in China. Their model is DM28-30ST, whose online price ranges between $1,799 and $2,570.
But the Ghor public health director said: “This purchase is related to the provincial committee. We have shared the details and the purchase is based on open bidding. The company offering the lowest price was awarded the contract.”
He explained: Market rates fluctuated in the past as well. A device costing 20,000 afghanis previously now accounts for 10,000 or 5,000 afghanis. Everything, specially medical equipment, is now more expensive due to the coronavirus outbreak.”

Regarding the purchase of the devices at a higher price, Samad Ahmadi said: “We have bought the machines after transparent bidding. Ten firms participated in the process and Basir Parsa offered the lowest price. As a result, it was awarded the contract.”

This is Pajhwok Afghan News 8th report on tracking ventilators.




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