The Indian Railways is converting train coaches into isolation wards to prepare for a fight against coronavirus to meet the increasing demand for beds.
As part of this initiative, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has started converting coaches into isolation wards at the Coach Maintenance Depot in Kamakhya and Guwahati after consulting medical professionals at its NF Railway Central Hospital, Maligaon. Non-AC sleeper coaches are being converted into isolation wards for patients.
“Each cabin of the coach has been converted into an independent isolation ward which shall accommodate one patient. There are nine such cabins in one coach. Following modifications have been done in each coach. Middle berths have been removed from these cabins for keeping two feet bed space on the berths,” an official release said.
“Extra bottle holders and electric points are provided for medicines, IV Fluids and medical equipment like oscilloscope monitor, suction apparatus, etc. A foldable stool is available under the berth for keeping the medical equipment as and when required,” it said.
Air Plastic curtains have been placed between two cabins for privacy and isolation. The side berth end panel walls of the coach near the entry/exit doors have been removed for easy access of stretcher.
“One of the four toilets of the coach has been converted into a bathroom with a facility for shower, bucket, and mug. Insulated bamboo sheets put up on the roof and the sidewalls of the coach for reducing the heat transfer and temperature inside the isolation ward,” the release said.
Earlier, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted: “Stepping up efforts to fight Coronavirus, Railways has converted a train coach into an isolation ward. Sleeping accommodation. Take a look at a prototype of an isolation ward, ready with medical facilities, in Kamakhya in Assam, with each coach having a capacity of serving 9 patients. #CoronaUpdate”
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has also appreciated the initiative of Indian Railways.
“My compliments to Indian Railways for its novel initiative in converting train coaches into isolation wards for COVID-19 patients. It illustrates how innovative solutions can help us in our fight against Coronavirus. #IndiaFightsCorona,” Naidu tweeted.