The Indian Navy's indigenously-made, breathable PPE kit 'NavRakshak' has brought new hopes to the medical world. Here's how

A pilot batch of PPE has already been produced at Naval Dockyard Mumbai. Innovation Cell, Institute of Naval Medicine, Mumbai, the Naval Dockyard Mumbai have collaborated to design and produce more
Image for representational purpose only
Image for representational purpose only

The Indian Navy's indigenously-made PPE kit, 'NavRakshak', made for enhancing comforts of the health workers under Indian conditions, is helping fight the war against Covid-19 in a better and effective manner, officials said here on Monday.

It was made by a doctor who can understand the agony of his fraternity wearing a multi-layered coverall PPE while treating patients for up to 12 hours in hot and humid conditions. The 'NavRakshak' with an innovative 'breathable' fabric material, has brought new hopes to the medical world and healthcare professionals from whose perspective it has been designed. "When it comes to PPE, everyone is concerned only about the water, blood, body fluid-resistant levels of the material used in making PPE but the comfort and breathability of such PPE is something few have paid attention to. This PPE is made by a doctor, keeping in mind a doctor's pain," said Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Arnab Ghosh from Naval Medical Specialist of Innovation Cell, Institute of Naval Medicine in Mumbai.

Navrakshak - which translates to a "novel protector", has two distinctive factors; optimal protectiveness and optimal breathability.

Ghosh said: "As a doctor, I can say, most of the PPE available in the Indian market is ignoring the 'breathability' factor. Because of this, health care workers get easily exhausted due to the prolonged use of substandard, low-quality PPE."

Breathability is the ability of the fabric to permit water vapour to pass through and to prevent the entry of water. The comfort properties of a fabric depend on its ability to transmit water and vapour from the body to prevent the accumulation of liquid on the skin. In this way, thermal energy generated by the body will be transmitted, and vapour moisture will be diffused, resulting in a comfortable condition.

With a view to cater to the unprecedented demand due to Coronavirus pandemic, many NGOs and organisations have already been actively involved in procuring and supplying PPE to the aid of hospitals. NavRakshak uses a non-woven advanced quality fabric of specific GSM with a certain stitching technique.

The unique character of the fabric used is its strong uniform structure which can act as an excellent barrier for liquids, particles, blood and body fluids. Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC) of the Ministry of Defence has already filed a patent for the innovative cost-effective PPE developed by Indian Navy, to enable rapid mass production of NavRakshak PPE.

"It took me seven days to make this PPE. I had to do extensive research about a wide variety of fabrics, had to study different medical garments like headgears, gloves etc. Due to the lockdown, it was even difficult for us to obtain raw materials. After much research I arrived at this new technology," said Ghosh.

A pilot batch of PPE has already been produced at Naval Dockyard Mumbai. Innovation Cell, Institute of Naval Medicine, Mumbai and the Naval Dockyard Mumbai have collaborated to design and produce the PPE.

The new technology has already been tested by INMAS (Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences) Delhi, a DRDO organization tasked with the testing and certification of PPE.

The PPE passed with 6/6 Synthetic blood penetration resistance test pressure (Government of India mandates minimum 3/6 and above level as per ISO 16603 standard), certified for mass production and use in clinical COVID situations.

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