Centre asks states, UTs to ensure Oxygen supply at healthcare facilities amid COVID-19 situation

Union Health Ministry on Monday (September 14) held a virtual meeting to ensure adequate Oxygen availability in all healthcare facilities in states and its unrestricted movement in view of the rising cases of COVID-19.
The 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 states were specifically advised to:
1. Ensure facility wise/hospital wise oxygen inventory management and advance planning for timely replenishment so that there is 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 the number of oxygen carrier vehicles.
6. Hospitals and institutions have long term tender/ contract agreement for the supply of Oxygen with oxygen manufacturers, which need to be honoured. Hence, states must not impose restrictions on the free movement of Oxygen.
7. Ensure timely payment of the due bills to the manufacturers and suppliers to maintain an 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 the process of grant of licenses to produce medical oxygen to those already producing industrial oxygen.
The meeting was participated by Health Secretary, Secretary DPIIT Secretary Pharmaceuticals, and Secretary Textiles.Others who took part in the virtual meeting were 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.

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