Ensure medical-grade oxygen plants are fully operational, States told

Uninterrupted supply in sufficient quantity is of critical importance to tackle pandemic, says Centre

December 15, 2021 07:33 pm | Updated 07:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI

 Workers filling cylinders with medical oxygen at a plant in Amravati. File

Workers filling cylinders with medical oxygen at a plant in Amravati. File

The Health Ministry has directed that States should schedule and conduct mock drills of all installed and commissioned pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen generating plants which are a source of medical-grade oxygen. This it said is to ensure that the plants are in fully operational status, so that the oxygen with the required quantity, pressure and purity reaches the intended patients at their bedside.

These drills are to be completed by the end of December and report submitted to the Ministry through designated portals for live tracking and monitoring of the functional status of the equipment. States have also been requested to complete the pending oxygen audit reports and submit them through the designated portal by the end of December.

Essential health commodity

“Medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and its uninterrupted supply in sufficient quantity is of critical importance to tackle the pandemic,” said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday at a meeting with States to review the status and their preparedness regarding medical oxygen devices and systems.

States have now been asked to review and monitor the status of the PSA plants, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, cylinders, liquid medical oxygen (LMO) plants and medical gas pipeline systems (MGPS) on a daily basis to ensure that the gap between the equipment and systems delivered to the districts and installed at the healthcare facilities is reduced to zero.

“While equipment and systems have been sanctioned and delivered, they have not been sent to the district healthcare facilities in many States and when delivered, some have still not been made functional,” said the Ministry.

It has also asked State nodal officers to streamline coordination with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), HLL Infra Tech Services Limited (HITES) and Central Medical Services Society (CMSS) etc., for resolution of electricity and site related issues for ensuring quick operationalisation of the entire medical oxygen supply infrastructure supplied to them.

As on date, 3,236 PSA plants have been installed from various sources with a commissioned oxygen capacity of 3,783 MT. Also, 1,14,000 oxygen concentrators are being provided to States under the PM CARES (1 lakh) and ECRP-II (14,000), said the release.

At the meeting it was pointed out to the States that the ECRP-II funds have been sanctioned to them for installation of 958 LMO storage tanks and MGPS in 1,374 hospitals.

“States have been advised to utilise this opportunity to enhance domestic oxygen production capacity and ensure the completion, installation and commissioning of medical gas pipelines in government hospitals expeditiously.”

Comprehensive training programmes

The Ministry is conducting comprehensive training programmes to build and enhances capacities of technicians and clinicians for operation and maintenance of the PSA plants and medical oxygen related infrastructure.

States that have yet to complete the scheduled training programmes were urged to expedite them and complete the pending ones by December end, in coordination with the District Skill development Councils, the release said.

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