Underlining the challenge posed by a rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country, with a focus on Omicron, the Centre on Friday emphasised that it is the primary responsibility of the states to ensure that all the oxygen equipment at all the health facilities are tested and kept in a functional state to meet any emergent situation.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting with representatives from the states and Union territories through a video-conference on Friday to review the preparedness status of the entire spectrum of oxygen equipment, including ventilators, PSA and oxygen plants, oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders, for a timely and effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement issued by the health ministry.
The states were urged to ensure full and optimal utilisation of the ECRP-II funds through daily reviews and to upload the expenditure on the dedicated NHM-PMS portal so that they are eligible to receive further funds to strengthen the healthcare facilities up to the sub-district level.
Under ECRP-II, funds are also made available for installing liquid medical oxygen (LMO) tanks and medical gas pipeline systems (MGPS).
The states are required to make these facilities operational and secure an approval from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) in respect of the LMO tanks, the statement said.
Bhushan urged the states to commission the PSA plants being set up from the states’ funds and CSR funds on a war-footing.
The states were also requested to ensure that a mock drill of the PSA plants is carried out to ensure that the oxygen flow at the patients’ bedside adheres to adequate purity and the recommended outlet pressure with no leakages.
In addition, the flow meters must remain in a functional state, they were told.
The states were also exhorted to monitor the installation of PSA plants at private as well as medical college hospitals.
The Union health secretary emphasised that the states need to ensure that the delivered ventilators are quickly installed and commissioned at the designated field health facilities, the statement said.
They were urged to address the large gaps that continue to exist between the numbers of delivered and installed ventilators, provide the consignee details of hospitals for the requirement of additional ventilators and expedite the issuance of final acceptance certificates for the installed ventilators.
The states were further reminded to expedite the process of finalising the maintenance contracts with the manufacturers. They were also advised to lodge any complaint related to ventilators in the online complaint management system, which was launched on August 30 last year, the statement said.
It was pointed out that the Union health ministry has started the National Oxygen Stewardship programme from December 22.
The states need to ensure that the technical training of the operators is completed.
More than 1,600 candidates joined the training programme covering 738 districts.
An online PSA training programme is also being carried out by the Directorate General of Training (DGT) through 24 regional centres across the country.
The states were also urged to ensure an adequate buffer stock of drugs and update the buffer stock details of government hospitals and medical colleges on the Drugs and Vaccine Distribution Management System (DVDMS) portal.
The states and Union territories that have not frozen their buffer requirement of drugs on the DVDMS portal were urged to timely update the same, along with the details of the stocks available and the purchase orders placed, the statement said.