Centre asks States to ensure oxygen supplies

Health Ministry reviews availability of ventilators, plants

It is the primary responsibility of States to ensure that oxygen equipment is kept functional for timely availability for patient care to meet any emergent situation, the Central government said on Friday following a review headed by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

The Health Ministry added that ventilators are to be quickly installed and commissioned at the designated field health facilities. States and Union Territories were also advised to lodge any complaint related to ventilators in the online Complaint Management System which was launched on August 30, 2021.

The meeting was aimed at assessing the preparedness of the entire oxygen infrastructure including PSA plants, oxygen concentrators, and oxygen cylinders and ventilators available with States.

Underlining the challenge posed by increasing number of COVID cases across the country, with focus on Omicron, the Health Secretary at the meeting urged States to ensure full and optimal utilisation of ECRP-II funds, through daily reviews, and to upload the expenditure on the dedicated portal so that they are eligible for release of further funds to strengthen the healthcare facilities till the sub-district levels.

“Under ECRP-II, funds are also made available for installing Liquid Medical Oxygen [LMO] tanks and Medical Gas Pipeline Systems [MGPS]. States are required to make them operational and secure approval from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization [PESO] in respect of LMO tanks,” said a release issued by the Ministry.

States have also been asked to commission PSA plants set up under States’ own funds and CSR funds on a war-footing through daily reviews.

“States were requested to also ensure that mock drill of the PSA plants are carried out to ensure that oxygen flow at the patient bedside adheres to adequate purity, recommended outlet pressure with no leakages. In addition, flowmeters must be tested and remain in functional state,” added the Ministry.

Besides these measure the Centre has asked States to maintain a state of alertness to ensure adequate buffer stock of drugs. “States which have not frozen their buffer requirement of drugs on portal are urged to timely update them along with the details of stocks available and purchase orders,” the release noted.

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