May 14, 2021 1:51:23 am
Oxygen audits at all government and private hospitals in Maharashtra have reported that in majority of these medical units, there are leakages in oxygen duct or in the valve of cylinders. It has also found that fire safety audits have not been carried out in most hospitals.
In the backdrop of accidents in hospitals in Nashik and Virar last month, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte had last month instructed district collectors to conduct fire and oxygen audits of all hospitals. The government, while instructing that audit teams — comprising district collectors and principals of government-run engineering and polytechnic colleges and industrial training institutes — be set up in all districts, had appointed Dr Abhay Wagh, Director (Directorate of Technical Education), as the nodal officer.
In all, 1,814 hospitals, including 335 government and 1,479 private units, were inspected till May 9 by the teams. Reports on 1,719 hospitals have been submitted to the district collectors recently, said an official.
The official added the teams focused mainly on storage of oxygen cylinders and their safety, maintenance of ventilators, emergency measures and skilled manpower. “In most hospitals, leakage was found in the oxygen duct or near the cylinder valve. It was also found that fire safety audits have not been carried out…” The official further said that the reports spoke of other issues like materials obstructing oxygen cylinder storage spaces, inadequate fire prevention system at storage places and keeping oxygen cylinders in a technically wrong manner. “It was also observed that there was lack of tools for repair as well as skilled manpower.”
Another official said that the teams submitted their opinions on the findings or “oxygen audit paras” to the respective district collectors. “After getting the oxygen audit paras, the district collectors immediately issued notices to the respective hospitals, asking them to take appropriate measures to fix the issues. Following this, corrective measures have been taken by the respective hospitals. So, it has helped save a lot of oxygen by fixing leakages.”
At present, Maharashtra needs 1,800 MT oxygen, of which 1,295 MT are being produced in the state. About 500 MT are being made available from other states. “The oxygen audit is not only helping in saving it but will also help in the state’s ‘Mission Oxygen’ campaign to become self-reliant,” an official said.
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