Blueprint for National Medical Oxygen Grid released

The NMOG, if executed, will be a far-reaching endeavour that would unify the medical oxygen supply and consumption industry

October 19, 2022 08:09 pm | Updated 08:09 pm IST - Bengaluru

Based on the lessons learnt from the oxygen crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure timely availability of medical oxygen across the country, the One Health Trust (OHT) with support from USAID-RISE, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Swasth Alliance, has embarked on an effort to develop a National Medical Oxygen Grid (NMOG). A blueprint for NMOG was released by State Health Commissioner Randeep D. here on Wednesday.

According to the blueprint, lack of utilisation of medical oxygen, especially outside of major metros, meant that there was both lack of supply as well as lack of personnel trained to use medical oxygen. “It is vital to fix the problem and ensure that oxygen is widely available and used in the farthest corners of the country during normal times so that the country’s infrastructure is ready for any future crisis,” he report stated.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, founder and president of OHT, said an ideal oxygen grid for the country would work much like an electricity grid, with central generation (liquid medical oxygen), transmission (tankers and cylinders), storage (liquid and gaseous), and decentralised production (pressure swing adsorption generators and oxygen concentrators). “No electricity grid would rely on just decentralised solar or micro-hydro plants without centralised transmission and distribution; similarly, a reliable NMOG should have multiple generation and storage components,” he said.

The NMOG, if executed, will be a far-reaching endeavour that would unify the medical oxygen supply and consumption industry for the efficient management of medical oxygen supply in the country, especially during health crises.

This report lays the groundwork for the design and implementation of the grid. It recommends a four-step approach for the design of the NMOG. The first step is to model and plan exercises to forecast the demand that must be met. The second is to divide the demand into manageable distribution areas to ease distribution. The third step is to create a detailed supply-side assessment so that the demands forecasted in step 1 may be met. The final step is to design the grid network that would include detailed steady-state and exigency operational plans.

Some other features of the proposed NMOG are the creation of a large storage reservoir capacity to meet any future demand spurt and an interconnected network allowing for a smooth flow from surplus to deficit areas.

The report also recommends the drawing of new clinical protocols and training mechanisms for doctors and other health professionals for optimal usage of medical oxygen.

Pilot projects are proposed in some States like Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, as a collaborative effort between different government departments, refillers, and hospitals in the division, experts and IT professionals, and funding agencies.

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