Tamil Nadu

State equipped to meet rising oxygen demand, say officials

The number of patients requiring oxygen has increased with a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases. With government hospitals facing a rise in day-to-day oxygen consumption, the State, after ramping up its oxygen capacity over the last year, is all set to meet the growing demand, say officials.

Tamil Nadu has ramped up the oxygen capacity in government hospitals under the Directorate of Medical Education and the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services over the last year.

From 352 KL at the beginning of the pandemic, the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) has augmented oxygen capacity to 716.57 KL presently, with the addition of another 63 KL in progress, according to official data.

According to officials in the Health Department, presently, one-third of the patients admitted to government medical college hospitals require oxygen at any given point in time. In line with this, the State’s per day oxygen requirement has now increased.

“It is around 170-180 KL now, as compared to the normal use of 40 KL. At the peak of the first surge, we were using 240 KL-250 KL,” an official said.

Continuous prep

Since last year, the TNMSC has been continuously augmenting the State’s oxygen capacity by installing liquid oxygen tanks in government institutions. So far, it has spent around ₹30 crore for the same. “The total capacity has been ramped up to 1,167 KL — the second highest in the country. So, even if consumption goes higher than the first surge, we are confident of meeting it,” he said.

The frequency of supply for tanks varied, he said, adding, “On average, the supply is once in three days since capacities have been expanded.”

R. Narayana Babu, Director of Medical Education, said the State, presently, had surplus oxygen.

“We are planning ahead based on projections. We have liquid oxygen tanks, oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrator equipment in all government medical institutions,” he said.

In addition to over 700 KL in liquid oxygen tanks in government medical college hospitals, there are nearly 14,000 oxygen cylinders, he added.

“The supply is adequate as of now. However, we come up with projections at the start of every month as a preparedness measure. Right now, we have 1,162 metric tonnes of oxygen, while the projected need for the end of the month is 859 metric tonnes. The projection takes into account a number of factors that includes rise in cases at the same rate, doubling factor and increase in bed occupancy,” Mr. Babu added.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 7:03:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/state-equipped-to-meet-rising-oxygen-demand-say-officials/article34321409.ece

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