The Health Ministry held a virtual meeting on Monday with officials from several states and Union territories to ensure the adequate availability of oxygen in all healthcare facilities.
State Health Secretaries and Industries Secretaries of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Punjab, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The aim of the meeting was to ensure adequate oxygen availability in all healthcare facilities in these states and the unrestricted intra- as well as inter-state movement of oxygen.
It was noted that only 11 tankers from Assam supplied oxygen to most of the North-Eastern states. Therefore, states were asked to assess the need and then to press more tankers into action, repurpose similar vehicles for carrying oxygen, take steps to reduce their turnaround time so that patients do not face any lack of oxygen. The Health Secretary, Secretary DPIIT Secretary Pharmaceuticals and Secretary Textiles were also a part of the meeting.
States were specifically advised to:
1. Ensure facility wise/hospital wise oxygen inventory management and advance planning for timely replenishment so that there are no stockout.
2. Ensure that no restriction is imposed on the movement of Medical Oxygen between States/UTs.
3. Provision of “Green Corridor” for Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) Tankers within the cities.
4. Real Time monitoring of cryogenic tankers used to supply oxygen.
5. Repurposing of Argon and Nitrogen carrying tankers to increase number of oxygen carrier vehicles.
6. Hospitals and institutions have long term tender/ contract agreement for supply of Oxygen with oxygen manufacturers, which need to be honoured. Hence, States must not impose restrictions on free movement of Oxygen.
7. Ensure timely payment of the due bills to the manufacturers and supplier to maintain uninterrupted supply of oxygen.
8. Improve power supply infrastructure and ensure uninterrupted supply to Oxygen Manufacturing Units.
9. Improve hospital storage capacity and identify MSME units whose storage capacity can be used to store Oxygen.
10. Undertake Oxygen Consumption Audit, ensure only cases requiring medical oxygenation are administered with Oxygen and prevent leakages due to negligence of hospital staff
11. Ensure proper disinfection of Oxygen cylinders as per protocols while sending cylinders to fillers of Oxygen.
12. Effective coordination with steel plants for Oxygen procurement since steel plants provide approx. 550 MT/day oxygen in addition to oxygen manufacturers who provide 6400 MT/day.
13. Expedite process of grant of licenses to produce medical oxygen to those already producing industrial oxygen.