Ensure buffer stock of oxygen to handle COVID cases: Center to states

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Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan

Rohit Shishodia

In wake of the surge of COVID cases and increasing admission in hospitals, the Union Health Ministry has directed states and union territories to ensure buffer stock of medical oxygen.

In a letter to additional chief secretaries of all states and UTs on January 12,2022,, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that all health facilities providing in-patient care and oxygen therapy should have buffer stock of medical oxygen sufficient for at-least 48 hours.

Bhushan said that the Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) tanks at the health facilities should be sufficiently filled and an uninterrupted supply chain for their refilling should be ensured.

“Health facilities across the country have been strengthened with Pressure Swing Adsorption plants. It is important to ensure that these PSA plants are kept fully functional. All steps should be taken for the proper upkeep and maintenance of such plants,” Bhushan said.

He further directed states that all the health facilities should have adequate inventory of oxygen cylinders along with back-up-stocks and robust refilling systems. It should also be ensured that these cylinders are filled and kept ready.

He added that all the districts should ensure that oxygen concentrators supplied to them are fully functional. Their proper upkeep and maintenance need to be ensured.

“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 said.

Bhushan said that all infection prevention protocols should be adopted while using the oxygen delivery devices and equipment at all the health facilities.

He said that private health facilities providing oxygen therapy services may be assessed and their medical oxygen infrastructure capacities need to be explored. A possible strategy and mechanism to leverage the private sector in times of peak of demand can be explored.

 


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