Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 05 December 2021 10.17 AM IST

More medical oxygen to 12 states including Kerala, funds provided by PM-CARES


NEW DELHI: The government took decisions for easier availability of essential medical equipment and oxygen in the wake of rising cases of COVID-19 and said 100 new hospitals will have their own oxygen plant under PM-CARES Fund and another 50,000 MT of medical oxygen will be imported.

A meeting of Empowered Group 2 (EG2) was held on Thursday to review the availability of essential medical equipment and oxygen. The meeting identified 4880 MT, 5619 MT and 6593 MT for 12 high burden states for meeting their projected demand as on April 20, April 25 and April 30 respectively.

A health ministry release said that EG2 is monitoring the situation of demand and supply of medical oxygen continuously to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to support the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen.

It said medical oxygen is a critical component in the treatment of COVID affected patients.

"There has been increasing demand for medical oxygen, especially from the 12 states with high burden of active COVID cases. While the demand in Maharashtra is expected to (be) beyond available production capacity of the state, states like Madhya Pradesh do not have any production capacity to meet their demand for medical oxygen. Besides, there is a trend of increasing demand in other oxygen producing states such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan," the release said.

It said that sources of medical oxygen and their production capacity was mapped to match the requirement of states. These states are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and the union territory of Delhi.

It said the health ministry is issuing orders for meeting projected demand of states with high cases of COVID-19.

The release said the government is identifying another 100 hospitals in far flung locations for installation of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants. PSA plants manufacture oxygen and 162 such plants sanctioned earlier under PM-Cares are being monitored early completion.

In view of increasing demand for medical oxygen, the government decided to float a tender for import of 50,000 MT of medical oxygen. The Health Ministry will finalise the tender and also explore possible sources for import identified by the missions of MEA.

The issue of availability of Remdesivir was also reviewed by the Minister of State for hipping and Waterways (I/C) and Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mansukh Mandaviya in meetings with all existing manufacturers of the drug and other stakeholders on April 12 and 13 where decisions have been taken to increase production and supply and reduce prices.

The Maharashtra government on Thursday constituted a six-member committee to keep a watch on medical oxygen usage in Mumbai.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope also instructed the district health departments to manage oxygen and Remedisivir while increasing beds in health institutions.

Gujarat High Court on Thursday heard a suo moto case on the COVID-19 situation in the state and asked the state government to make people aware of when to take Remdesivir.

With a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitals in Ahmedabad reported a shortage of medical oxygen.

"Oxygen demand has increased by 20-25 per cent. Earlier we were producing 100 cylinders, now it is 1000-1200 cylinders per day. The government has directed us to sell 100 per cent oxygen to healthcare," an oxygen manufacturer said.

Mona Desai, former president, Ahmedabad Medical Association told ANI that due to oxygen shortage, manufacturers are charging two-three times more, and asked the government to take steps against black marketing.

"Oxygen requirement at COVID hospitals has gone up by two-three times. We've written to the Chief Minister to direct oxygen manufacturers to sell 100 per cent oxygen to health care facilities," Desai added.

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