No shortage of oxygen for medical use; states asked to improve inventory management

There is no shortage of oxygen for medical use but the states have to improve inventory management, the health ministry said on Tuesday as hospitals in many states reported shortage of oxygen cylinders. The health ministry said it had set up a virtual control room for better management of oxygen supply and coordinate with the state governments. Explaining in detail oxygen production capacity, secretary (health) Rajesh Bhushan said, “Oxygen use is of two types – one is for industrial use and the second is for medical use.

The production capacity of oxygen in India is 6900 metric tonnes. As of today morning, oxygen requirement for Covid and non-Covid essential health services is 2800 metric tonnes. If you look at industry’s requirement it is 2200 MT. This gives you a total of 5,000 MT requirement and a head room of 1900 MT.” Bhushan said the problem being reported was due to poor inventory management at the hospital level. “So speaking at the national level there is no shortage of oxygen, in fact there is a surplus of 1900 MT. Then what is the problem? The problem happens when at the hospital facility level you do not have inventory management. At present there is a need for every state to monitor which hospital has how much stock of oxygen and if stocks could run out in the next 2-3 days.”

The Centre has done extensive meetings with the states and directed state governments to create control rooms to monitor stocks. “We have reviewed the arrangement of different states. We have created a virtual control room which includes joint secretary from health ministry, PESO and DCGI. At present, we don’t think there is any shortage. But states need to emphasise on the need for rational use of oxygen.”

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