By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Sunday announced that 551 medical oxygen generation plants will be installed in government hospitals across India under the PM Cares funds, amid a massive shortage of the crucial supply of oxygen that has kept hospitals treating COVID-19 patients on tenterhooks for the last several days.
These plants will boost oxygen availability at the district level, assured the government as an aggressive second wave of coronavirus has overwhelmed hospitals with a large number of patients in need of supplemental oxygen.
An in-principle approval was given for the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants under the funds, said the Union government and added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed that these plants should be made functional as soon as possible.
However, the funds allocated for the purpose was not disclosed.
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These dedicated plants are set to be established in identified government hospitals in district headquarters in various states and the procurement will be done through the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The PM Cares fund had earlier this year allocated Rs 201.58 crores for installation of additional 162 oxygen plants in government hospitals but the ministry recently said that only 33 such plants have been installed.
The basic aim behind establishing such plants in government hospitals in the district headquarters is to further strengthen the public health system and ensure that each of these hospitals has a captive oxygen generation facility, said the Centre.
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Such an in-house captive oxygen generation facility would address the day-to-day medical oxygen needs of these hospitals and the district, said the Centre. In addition, the liquid medical oxygen would serve as a “top up” to the captive oxygen generation.
“Such a system will go a long way in ensuring that government hospitals in the districts do not face sudden disruption of oxygen supplies and have access to adequate uninterrupted oxygen supply to manage the Covid-19 patients and other patients needing such support,” noted a statement by the ministry.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days.
Several hospitals in the national capital are grappling with severe shortage of medical oxygen.
While some hospitals have managed to make short-term arrangements, there is no immediate end to the crisis in sight.
(With PTI inputs)