THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: On Tuesday, 15th of September, the Union Health Ministry said that there is in fact “no shortage” of medical oxygen, essential in the treatment of coronavirus, at the national level. At the same time, they are cautioning states to guarantee sufficient inventory supervision at hospital-level and enabling appropriate restacking to prevent any stockout.
On being questioned about any shortage of oxygen in different states and if there were any consequences due to that, to which Rajesh Bhushan, Health Ministry Secretary answered that the country’s current regular volume of oxygen production currently is somewhat higher than 6,900 metric tonne.
Observing current figures, Bhushan at a press conference stated these figures regarding the consumption of oxygen by the patients.
- 3.69 per cent of the COVID-19 patients were on oxygen support
- 2.17 per cent were in ICU beds which are with oxygen
- 0.36 per cent of the patients were on ventilator support which needs oxygen
To which he stated that it amounts approximately to around 6 per cent people entirely.
He further added, “So what was the oxygen which was being consumed by these people plus that is consumed by non-COVID health services, if that is again taken (as per morning figure) that is 2,800 metric tonnes daily.
So if we look at the industry’s production and their requirement for oxygen, it is 2,200 metric tonne which gives a total of 5,000 metric tonne consumption per day and headroom of 1,900 metric tonnes. So speaking at the national level there is absolutely no shortage of oxygen; there is a surplus today morning of 1,900 metric tonnes.”
The official told, that the problem arises when there is a lack of inventory supervision at facility-level. Bhushan emphasised that every state should guarantee that oxygen inventory management is available at hospital-level. He also added that there should be possible stockout warnings being generated to restock inventory on time.
Bhushan said, “If a shortage is likely, then immediate action should be taken to replenish it on time and help should be sought from the Centre.”
Adding to it what he stated, “States should monitor the oxygen availability and use it rationally.”
He further affirmed that meetings were scheduled with states and have demanded to configure a control room for observing the state of oxygen stock, and also a virtual control room has been arranged at the central level.
The Union Health Ministry on Monday held a virtual meeting with 29 States and Union Territories and induced them to guarantee sufficient oxygen accessibility in all healthcare departments and permitted intra-state and inter-state movement of oxygen.
Union Health Secretary, Secretary DPIIT, Secretary Pharmaceuticals and Secretary Textiles also partook in the meeting. It was noted that Assam provides oxygen to mostly all of the Northeastern states. It has 11 tankers in the state which supply oxygen.
The ministry had said in a statement on Monday, that the states were informed to evaluate the requirement and then to urge for more tankers into effect. It should reprocess similar vehicles for transporting oxygen, and take steps to decrease their turnaround interval so that patients are not short of medical oxygen. The states are directed to ensure facility wise or hospital-wise oxygen inventory management and to plan timely restock the inventory.