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Omicron spreading: Health Ministry instructs states to stock medical oxygen, keep life support equipment ready in hospitals

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan in his letter to states has said that LMO tanks at the health facilities should be sufficiently filled and an uninterrupted supply chain for their refilling should be ensured.

The Union Health Ministry, on Wednesday 12th January 2022, has written a letter to states and union territories instructing them to stock sufficient medical oxygen considering the significant surge in the COVID-19 cases across the country. The Center has instructed states to direct the concerned departments to ensure adequate buffer stock of medical oxygen for at least 48 hours and reinvigorate oxygen control rooms.

The union health ministry has said that the current situation demands immediate measures by states and union territories so that optimal availability of medical oxygen is ensured at all health facilities. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written in his letter that in various states private health service providers who supply oxygen therapy services may be assessed and their infrastructure capacities to provide medical oxygen must be explored by the states.

It is notable that the shortage of medical oxygen was the highlight of the second wave of the pandemic. Several states like Kerala, Delhi, and Maharashtra had faced scarcity of medical oxygen and industries like SAIL, Reliance and others had to divert their usage to provide medical oxygen in several states. The negligence of state governments and hospitals to set up infrastructure for medical oxygen supply and storage was exposed at a time of crisis.

Since the last few weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in India has surged very rapidly. Many states have reimposed strict rules to prevent the spread.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus, though with milder symptoms, is spreading at a very high rate. Even though the rate of hospitalization is seen to be less so far, the requirement is bound to shoot high soon, considering the current speed and scale of the spread.

Ensure uninterrupted supply chain of LMO, Health Ministry tells

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan in his letter to states has said that LMO tanks at the health facilities should be sufficiently filled and an uninterrupted supply chain for their refilling should be ensured. He also advised that a possible strategy and mechanism to leverage the private sector in times of peak demand can be explored. He has further said that health facilities across the country have been strengthened with PSA plants and it is important to ensure that these PSA plants are kept fully functional.

Bhushan said all the health facilities should have an adequate inventory of oxygen cylinders along with backup stocks and robust refilling systems. It should also be ensured that these cylinders are filled and kept ready. In his letter, he has also advised that all higher-level health facilities should have life support equipment including ventilators, BiPAP, SpO2 systems, and associated consumables in sufficient numbers to respond to the emerging needs.

Bhushan asked states and UTs to ensure optimal use of all oxygen delivery equipment and devices and deployment of adequately trained HR at all facilities. It is notable that the health ministry along with the ministry of skill development & entrepreneurship has organized 10 hours of training for operators of PSA plants for day-to-day operation, 40 hours of training of Master Trainers, and 180 hours of training for troubleshooting of PSA to a significant number of people in all States.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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