CENTRE: No deaths reported by States, UTs due to shortage of medical oxygen during the second wave

Whether a large number of people died on roads and hospitals due to an acute shortage of oxygen or not? To this Minister of State for Health, Bharati Praveen Pawar said that States and UTs regularly report death due to COVID-19 to the Centre.

There were no deaths due to lack of oxygen by States and UTs during the second COVID-19 wave, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

During the peak of the second wave, there was an unprecedented surge in demand for medical oxygen. While during the first wave the need was 3000 MT, it rose to 9000 MT in the second wave. The Central Government had to step in to provide oxygen to the States, as per their requirements.

As health is a state subject, there is a detailed guideline for reporting of deaths issued by the Union Health Ministry to all the States and UTs.

The Central Government ensured to provide healthcare facilities during the second wave. Thus, providing medical oxygen and other consumables to ensure clinical care of the patients.

The mapping of medical oxygen from the production center to the required states:

Usually determined by contractual arrangements between the hospital and the medical oxygen supplier, contractors, vendors, etc. But, due to the increase in demand, the central government had to pitch in to provide the necessities.

Thus, the government prepared a dynamic and transparent allocation of medical oxygen. This was in consultation with the States and UTs and all the stakeholders including ministers, suppliers, etc.

The factors which determine the allocation of medical oxygen are:

The primary determinant was the active caseload of the States and UTs. The other determinants include case-in-law rate and present medical infrastructure. Furthermore, the allocation of the much-needed medical oxygen kept dynamic as per changing load.

Pawar wrote a reply on the shortage of medical oxygen and the steps taken to meet the need:
  • The States and UTs report the number of deaths caused due to Covid-19 regularly to the Centre. But no death have been reported by the States and UTs due to lack of medical oxygen during the second wave.
  • The total allocation of 10,250 MT of medical oxygen was done to the 26 high-burden states dated 28.05.2021.
  • The Central Government has taken all possible steps to meet the surging demands. Including an increase in the production of liquid oxygen from 5700 MTs in August 2020 to 9690 MTs in May 2021.
  • Online digital solutions like the Oxygen Demand Aggregation System (ODAS) and Oxygen Digital Tracking System (ODTS) ensured supply and tracking of medical oxygen.
  • Moreover to minimize wastage of medical oxygen guidelines were issued on 25.09.2020 and later revised on 25.04.2021.
  • Also, the states got medical equipment. Oxygen cylinders, concentrators, and Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants were to name a few.
  • Different ministers are installing another 295 oxygen generating plants.

The Centre ordered the States to prepare state-level medical oxygen generating plants. The government has taken steps for the storage of medical oxygen. Hence, approved 1050 Liquid Medical Oxygen Tanks along with MGPS worth Rs. 80 Lakh each.

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