Coronavirus | Health Ministry sanctions 162 oxygen plants

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan speaks with a patient during his visit to the AIIMS Trauma centre in New Delhi on April 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Amidst heightened demand for medical-grade oxygen, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said the government had sanctioned 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants of which 33 had been installed. Five of them were installed in Madhya Pradesh, four in Maharashtra, three each in Chandigarh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand, two each in Bihar, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

A 100 more such plants were collectively requested by States and they too were being sanctioned, the Health Ministry said in a series of tweets on Sunday.

Additional ventilators

Dr. Vardhan said oxygen production was being diverted from industrial use to medical use. Additional ventilators were being provided by the Centre to the States. Maharashtra would get 1,121 ventilators, Uttar Pradesh 1,700, Jharkhand 1,500, Gujarat 1,600, Madhya Pradesh 152 and Chhattisgarh 230.

Vaccines were being replenished in “small” States every 7 days and every four days in “big” States, Dr. Vardhan tweeted, without clarifying the criteria for big and small.

As on Sunday, the Health Ministry reported administering 12 crore vaccines. Eight States accounted for about 60% of the vaccines administered. With 2.6 lakh doses being administered in the last 24 hours, it was the third day in a row this week that the number of daily doses administered fell below 3 lakh.

Dedicated hospitals

The Centre has asked hospitals affiliated to public sector units and Central ministries to set up dedicated blocks, or even exclusive hospitals, to treat COVID-19 patients. “The need of the hour is to prioritise and systematise all our combined efforts towards effective management and ensure availability of sufficient healthcare infrastructure in the States to meet increased demand for treatment,” said Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in a letter to several Ministries, including Defence, Railways, Atomic Energy, Shipping and Education.

The hospitals ought to be having separate entry and exit points for the management of COVID-19 cases. These hospitals also should be having “supportive and ancillary care” such as Oxygen-supported beds, Intensive Care Unit beds, ventilators and specialised critical care units, laboratory services and imaging services, says the letter.

Mr. Bhushan’s letter comes amidst a surge in cases and a large paucity of critical care services such as hospital beds, ventilators and oxygen supply devices. Several States that are seeing a large influx in cases are writing to the Centre demanding funds and devices to shore up their creaking infrastructure.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 11:35:37 PM |

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