Over the last few months, the Indian Railways has been busy converting their sleeper coaches into COVID wards. The railways have suitably removing sleeping berths as well as undertaken modification to provide necessary isolation and oxygen supply for patients. These coaches will now be deployed across 235 stations across India to provide healthcare access COVID patients.
The Indian Railways has converted 5,150 sleeper coaches into COVID care wards. Each coach has been provided with sleeping arrangement for the patient, oxygen supply, rest areas for medical staff etc. These coaches would be deployed across the breadth of India, especially catering to Tier II and III cities with limited medical facilities.
The Indian Railways would be deploying these coaches at 215 stations across 23 states and Union Territories. Of these railway hospitals will provide the medical staff and support at 85 locations. In the balance 130 locations, the deployment would be carried out only of the state government agrees to provide the medical staff.
These coaches would be used to care for patients who are either confirmed cases with mild symptoms or are suspect cases. Both categories of cases would be housed in different coaches to avoid cross infection. These coaches would be able to provide hospital beds to more than 41,200 patients. These coaches would also be deployed in major hotspot cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad etc.
Food for the patients and staff would be provided by the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Maintenance and water supply would be the responsibility of the Indian Railways and security would be provided by the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
If required, some of these coaches would be converted into hospitals of wheels to provide all levels of support for COVID patients.