DIAGAST has an important presence in India with more than 50 installations of QWALYS®, our automated system in Immunohaematology.
Akram REZA and Mayank PATEL, both faithful Support Managers at DIAGAST India for 7 years, explain us how they managed the situation during this COVID-19 period.
Mayank Patel at Appolo Hospital
Could you please present your job and activity at DIAGAST (scope of intervention, geographic areas…)?
Akram : I am working as a Regional Operational Head of any After Service operations in North and East of India. Initially, I was looking after Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) service activities. Now, I am also responsible for other sites of Northern and Eastern part of India. My objective is to provide service support whenever required by customers on priority basis. Other towns & areas that I am dealing with are Agra, Lucknow, Patna, Chandīgarh, Dehradoon & Kolkata.
Mayank : Being senior engineer, I am responsible for the support and service of customer sites in West and South of India, with the help of two engineers. I am in permanent touch with all the customers on this area and I am ensuring them our best support.
How is currently the COVID-19 situation in India?
Akram : From mid of November, number of Covid-19 cases has been increasing rapidly. Government has taken necessary measures to avoid transmission of Virus. Situation in the labs is still difficult with the increasing number of cases, specially Lal Path Lab Delhi & Kolkata, Metropolis Lab Delhi.
However, COVID situation in the rest part of India is still under control.
Mayank : Except Delhi, Maharashtra and some metropolitan cities, COVID situation is still in manageable condition. Furthermore, as per our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, said, we will soon have vaccine for COVID-19. Mass vaccination in India will start.
What was the impact of COVID on your activity?
Mayank : As we are in the healthcare sector, we had to be cautious while working in the field. We are really thankfull to DIAGAST India to deliver mandatory Personal Protection Equipment kit against COVID. (alcooholic gels, hand gloves, face shield…). It helped us to stay secure and provide best customer support to all our customers in India., even in this pandemic situation. We had been strictly informed by our Director, Mr Rajkumar Singh, and our National Service Manager, Mr Vipul Patel, to follow the sanitary instructions and use personal transportation while working on customers’ sites. During the lockdown, we provided prompt service throught remote access and delivered Red Blood Cells personally by car along with our National Service manager.
Akram : We have visited Customer sites by taking proper precautions, as per guidelines directed by Government of India. We are not allowed to visit some of the labs physically, so we have to provide online solutions and we use remote access. We are only allowed to visit our customers for major instrument issues.
Akram Reza in front of QWALYS®
We faced a lot of transportation issues during the lockdown period. Goverment Officials and Police didn’t allow us to visit and travel to Labs or Blood Banks’ sites without any authentic pass from designated Institutes (AIIMS/Safdarjung Hospital). Everytime, we had to request them to arrange pass for DIAGAST.
How did you adapt to this COVID-19 situation?
Akram : We succeeded in adapting to this situation despite of pathetic condition during lockdown. Now, it is fine and easier to travel & visit customers’ sites, but we are still facing issues with transportation.
We adapt this situation & manage accordingly, for example, when we deliver required parts, Kits & RBC by ourselves.
We have many changes in habits. For example, we never leave our home without PPE kit. During visits at any Lab or Blood Bank, we take care of all our service tools & sanitize them properly after service. Back to home, we also sanitize ourselves as per Standard Procedure.
Mayank : We arranged permits from Government to have free movement for service purpose. We adapted with new hygiene protocols. Though the situation is improving, we keep following these sanitary precautions in our daily routines. During the lockdown, our National Service Manager and application specialists arranged virtual trainings for all the Indian engineers. We hold conferences and webinars It allows us to share experiences and increases our biological knowledges. All these actions were implemented to a better adaptation of our department to this new health situation.
What are the positive aspects of this situation?
Mayank : The COVID taught us the importance of hygiene and sanitization in our routine. It also taught us that we can provide our best even in the worst situation.
Akram : There are a lot of positive aspects.
- Hygiene: Personal hygiene, public restrooms and supermarkets become more focused on, as new rules applied, leading to new behavioural changes that have started to emerge.
- Social distancing really help us to get rid of those huge costly wedding ceremonies. The newlyweds now save money to start their new lives, we are opting for more outdoor events and open spaces.
- Innovation is more important to stay connected & help each other.
- Education becomes digitized & affordable.
- Environment: Our globe has finally breathed, indeed ! Never ever has the environment been serviced in a better way. Carbon emissions declined.
- Families: People are more in touch with friends and family. They are closer together, but sadly, the lockdown gave leeway for – and shed light on: violence, family violence which soared in some areas. This is something we have to acknowledge and deal with.
Mayank with the team at Apollo Hospital