Health facilities must have 48-hour buffer stock of oxygen, Centre tells States


Direction comes in the wake of significant surge in COVID-19 cases across country

Health facilities providing in-patient care and oxygen therapy should have buffer stock of medical oxygen sufficient for at least 48 hours, the Centre instructed States on January 12 following the continued and significant surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

In a letter to States, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan directed that all districts should ensure that oxygen concentrators supplied to them were fully functional.

“Their proper upkeep and maintenance need to be ensured,” he said.

The Centre also told States that Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) tanks at the health facilities should be sufficiently filled and an uninterrupted supply chain for their refilling should be ensured.

“Health facilities across the country have been strengthened with functional Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants and there should be adequate inventory of oxygen cylinders along with back-up stocks and robust refilling systems. It should also be ensured that these cylinders are filled and kept ready,” the Centre instructed.

Private health facilities providing oxygen therapy services have been asked to assess their medical oxygen infrastructure capacities.

“A possible strategy and mechanism to leverage the private sector in times of peak of demand can be explored,” the Centre said.

Stating that the emerging scenario calls for immediate measures by States to ensure optimal availability of medical oxygen, the Centre said deployment of adequately trained staff was vital.

It added States had been told oxygen control rooms should be reinvigorated for prompt resolution of issues and challenges.

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