Panel formed to probe substandard masks case

IMPHAL, 18th Apr: Following reports that sub-standard N95 masks were supplied to doctors, nurses and other health workers who are in the frontline of battling the COVID-19 outbreak, the state Health Department has formed a fact-finding committee to investigate the matter.
Speaking to newspersons in this regard on Saturday, Health Minister L Jayantakumar said that the department has formed a fact finding committee to look into the reports appeared in media of fungi-infested and used N95 masks being supplied to the health workers of the state.
He said that the state Health and Family Welfare principal secretary Vumlunmang (IAS) was tasked with assembling the committee, following which a three-member committee with Directorate of Health Services additional director Dr P Shyamsunder, deputy director Dr Somorjit Ningombam and National Health Mission (NHM) state project director Rajiv Irengbam as members has been formed. The committee would be submitting its report within one week, the health minister added.
According to a source, purchase of facemasks and medical kits was initiated from April 1 in accordance to an office memorandum issued by the state Finance Department. As per the memorandum, the health department was directed to identify firms, which could supply the masks and medical kits, and to purchase the same. As such, the department purchased the said items through the NHM.
The defective masks were part of the consignment, which were brought to the state via cargo flights. Although all COVID-19 precautionary measures in the state are to be taken up by the state health department, the funds for the same are sanctioned through NHM. As such, all purchases of masks and medical kits are done under the aegis of NHM. However, the state government is yet to release any money for any of the items, which have been brought to the state till date, the source added.

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