Treating the second wave of coronavirus infections like a war, the armed forces have launched operation CO-JEET to aid anti-COVID-19 efforts. Through this, they will be strengthening medical infrastructure and oxygen supply chains, as well as help ensure the mental wellbeing of the people.
The second COVID-19 wave has put huge pressure on the country’s health system, with health facilities in several states reeling under a shortage of oxygen, medicines and equipment needed to treat coronavirus patients and also beds.
Lieutenant General Dr Madhuri Kanitkar, Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Medical), said that besides medical therapy, patients need the reassurance that they will be fine. “In times of stress, if you have someone to talk to, it makes a huge difference.” Lt Gen. Kanitkar, who is the third woman to become a three-star general in the armed forces, is working round the clock to strategise and monitor steps to provide relief to COVID-19 patients.
She told PTI that COVID-19 patients need reassurance that all will be fine. Lt Gen. Kanitkar said she believes more in conviction therapy and making them smile. “Under the CO-JEET plan, personnel of three wings of the armed forces – the Army, the Indian Air Force and the Navy, have been pressed into service to help restore oxygen supply chains, set up COVID beds and provide help to the civilian administration in its fight to control the pandemic,” she said. “In addition to the ongoing health situation, most ex-servicemen are also coming to military hospitals. In cities like Delhi and Pune, we have made 400-500 bed hospitals purely for defence and ex-servicemen.”
Efforts are also underway to provide additional beds across the country for mixed COVID-19 management. The Lt Gen. said that undoubtedly this is a war-like situation and every wing of the nation is doing its best as common citizens are affected by the pandemic. “CO-JEE stands for co-workers of all the three services who will finally achieve Jeet (victory) over COVID. The whole team is working in a very energized way because a soldier is trained to fight under adverse situations and he doesn’t give up, we are not just doctors, we are soldiers.”
Lt Gen Kanitkar said they are totally charged up and working to provide care to defence personnel and relief to the civil administration. In regards to shortage of oxygen, she said some of the military hospitals have their own oxygen generation plants. “However, the present crises have shown that we need to further ramp up this facility and already around 46 oxygen generation plants are being installed at various places. Besides this, we have a capacity of holding jumbo cylinders and of oxygen concentration from fields.”
The officer highlighted the concerted efforts of all the three wings of the armed forces and their support.