Parliamentary proceedings | No deaths reported due to lack of oxygen, health ministry told Rajya Sabha
“No deaths from lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and union territories,” the health ministry said in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday in response to a question about the acute oxygen shortage during the second wave of the COVID pandemic.
Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare, Bharati Pravin Pawar, in her response to the question, noted that the central government, during the second wave of COVID, had supported states and initiated a series actions, including the supply of medical oxygen and other consumables to ensure the care of COVID-19 patients given the sharp increase in the COVID-19 trajectory in the country from April to May 2021.
The Minister also noted that the supply of medical oxygen to hospitals is determined by contractual agreements between the hospital concerned and the supplier of medical oxygen.
“However, due to the unprecedented increase in demand for medical oxygen during the second wave – demand in the country peaked at nearly 9,000 MT compared to 3,095 MT in the first wave – the central government had to intervene to facilitate equitable distribution to states, ”she said.
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The minister said the Center had improved production of liquid medical oxygen (OMT) from 5,700 MT in August 2020 to 9,690 MT in May 2021.
“States have been provided with oxygen equipment such as oxygen cylinders, concentrators and pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen production plants. A total of 4,027,517 oxygen cylinders have been purchased / are in the process of being purchased and distributed to the States. In addition, 1,222 PSA oxygen production plants were sanctioned. Of these, as of July 15, 2021, 237 power plants have been commissioned. Apart from this, 295 PSA plants are being installed by different ministries. States have also been urged to prepare state-level oxygen production plants and, with the goal of increasing liquid medical oxygen storage capacity in the United States, as part of the package of COVID-Part II emergency, 1,050 liquid medical oxygen tanks with MGPS at a cost of 80 lakh each have been approved, ”the Upper House was informed.