Centre reviews preparedness of oxygen infrastructure in States as COVID cases surge
New Delhi, January 8, 2022
Amid the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting on Friday to review the preparedness of the entire spectrum of oxygen equipment for effective management of the coronavirus pandemic with States and UTs through a video conference.
The discussions covered ventilators, PSA oxygen plants, oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders, among other items, an official press release said.
Underlining the challenge posed by the increasing number of COVID cases across the country, with focus on Omicron, Bhushan emphasized that it is the primary and critical responsibility of States and UTs to ensure all oxygen equipment, till the field level at all health facilities, is tested and kept in a functional state to meet any emergent situation.
He urged the States and Union Territories to ensure full and optimal utilization of funds under the "India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project: Phase-II" (ERCP-II), through daily reviews, and to upload the expenditure on the dedicated NHM PMS portal so that they are eligible for release of further funds in order to strengthen the healthcare facilities till the sub-district levels.
Under ECRP-II, funds are also made available for installing Liquid Medical Oxygen [LMO] tanks and Medical Gas Pipeline Systems [MGPS]. States are required to make them operational and secure approval from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization [PESO] in respect of LMO tanks.
The Health Secretary also urged the concerned States to commission PSA plants being set up under state’s own funds and CSR funds on a war-footing through daily reviews. States were requested to also ensure that mock drill of the PSA plants are carried out to ensure that oxygen flow at the patient bedside adheres to adequate purity, recommended outlet pressure with no leakages. In addition, flowmeters must be tested and remain in functional state. States were exhorted to also monitor installation of PSA plants in private hospital facilities and Medical College Hospitals.
He emphasized that States need to ensure that the delivered ventilators are quickly installed and commissioned at the designated field health facilities. They were urged to address the large gaps that continue to exist between delivered and installed ventilators, provide consignee details of hospitals for requirement of additional ventilators and expedite the issuing of Final Acceptance Certificates for installed ventilators. States/UTs were further reminded to expedite finalizing maintenance contracts with manufacturers. States/UTs were also advised to lodge any complaint related to ventilators in the online Complaint Management System which was launched on August 30, 2021.
It was pointed out that the Union Health Ministry has started the National Oxygen Stewardship Program from December 22, 2021. States need to ensure that Technical Training of the operators is completed across the country. More than 1,600 candidates joined the training programme covering 738 districts. An online PSA training program is also being carried out by Directorate General of Training [DGT] through 24 regional centres across the country.So far, 4690 candidates have been trained under the 180-hour training programme while 6,825 candidates have received their training under the 10-hour training programme.
Bhushan said States should maintain a state of alertness to ensure adequate buffer stock of drugs. They were urged to update buffer stock details with Government hospitals as well as with Medical Colleges on the Drugs and Vaccine Distribution Management System [DVDMS] portal. States/UTs which have not frozen their buffer requirement of drugs on DVDMS portal were urged to timely update them along with the details of stocks available and purchase orders placed.