Jharkhand heading towards becoming an oxygen surplus state

Ranchi:  The second wave of Covid19 which is more fatal and steeper with new variants saw tremendous increase in number of cases in Jharkhand and in that situation Chief Minister Hemant Soren came forward and took the charge of providing immediate relief to the people of the state.

He made every possible effort to meet the need for oxygen supply for the rapidly growing infected patients in the state to safeguard human life and minimize losses.

Despite limited resources, the continuous effort made by the government brought success. On Sunday the Chief Minister inaugurated 80-bed oxygen supported Covid Care Center at DAV School Ghatotand in Mandu, Ramgarh in order that people in rural areas also get proper medical facilities. Now the government is working towards setting up an oxygen bank in all the districts and setting up an oxygen plant in the Sadar hospitals across the state. As of now, there is no shortage of oxygen supply in the state and Jharkhand is heading towards becoming an oxygen surplus state.

The second wave of Covid19 infection was more fatal than the first. According to the National Clinical Registry, issues related to breathing difficulties in the first wave was 41.7 per cent, which increased to 47.5 per cent in the second wave. This was a worrying situation. The demand for medical oxygen also increased as the cases increased. The Chief Minister was constantly monitoring the situation. State experts were also of the opinion that the way the number of infected people is increasing, the state will have to increase the production of oxygen.

The ‘Oxygen Task Force’ was constituted to ensure the availability of oxygen to patients in need. The task force worked on a war footing to map the medical oxygen supply chain in the state and ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen to hospitals.It was aimed at increasing the production of oxygen, availability of oxygen cylinders and necessary equipment and uninterrupted supply to hospitals.

As of starting of April, there were 12 oxygen refilling units in the state. These units could refill 6000 to 7000 cylinders per day. 315 tonnes of oxygen was being produced by five  oxygen manufacturers operating in the state. By April 22, this was increased to 570 tonnes per day. The work of increasing the capacity of oxygen production in the state is still in progress.

Till April 22, 2021, there was a daily demand of 80 to 100 tonnes of oxygen in the state, while the production in the state was far more than that.    However, initially due to a lack of oxygen cylinders and related equipment, there was some problem in providing oxygen. Thereafter efforts were made for the availability of oxygen cylinders. The available industrial cylinders in the state were also brought to medical use. The effect is seen on even more supply of oxygen by Jharkhand to states like Delhi , Uttar Pradesh and others.

In month of April ,1824 new oxygen supported beds were made available in the entire state. Efforts were made to ensure that at least 50 oxygen supported beds are available in every district. At present, the number of oxygen supported beds in most districts is sufficient enough to meet the current demand.

The first week of May witnessed the launch of the new Covid Care Centre in the multi-level parking of RIMS, one of the largest hospitals in Jharkhand. The centre is equipped with 327 oxygen supported beds. It has brought a lot of relief to the people of the state.

Senior officials of the state were engaged to oversee the arrangement in Sadar Hospitals. This has greatly helped the patients in need of oxygen beds or treatment.

In the hour of crisis, the Chief Minister himself inspected oxygen plants operational in Ranchi. He also instructed the authorities for an uninterrupted  supply of oxygen. Soon, the production of oxygen in the state was greatly accelerated.

To ensure the availability of oxygen in the hospitals, the Chief Minister introduced the Sanjeevani vehicle. These vehicles carry oxygen cylinders with them and are available 24×7. If there is an SOS call for a shortage of Oxygen in any hospital, this comes for rescue. Currently, this facility is available in Ranchi and Dhanbad. Any public or private hospital seeking oxygen on an urgent basis gets an immediate supply through these vehicles. This was done to ensure that patients do not have to wander for oxygen.

In the initial stages of infection, patients and their families had to go to the hospitals themselves for primary inspection. People were facing a lot of trouble.To provide relief to the mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic patients the government issued a toll-free helpline number 104.  All the necessary information including the availability of beds, oxygen and medical consultation is being provided to the people seeking help.

Through these initiatives, improvement in health facility became possible due to the active and continuous intervention of the Chief Minister.

He kept taking meetings of senior officials, public representatives, visited hospitals to know the ground reality and ensure necessary improvements wherever needed. The loopholes were fixed. After all these efforts the cases of Covid19 are decreasing in Jharkhand.

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