June 29, 2021 12:34:30 am
ANTICIPATING A possible shortfall in medical oxygen availability during the peak of the third wave, the Maharashtra government on Monday released district oxygen management plan for all collectors to spruce up storage capacity, existing pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants and oxygen cylinders.
Maharashtra’s daily liquid medical oxygen (LMO) production is 1,300 metric tonne (MT), and its requirement had shot up to 1,800 MT per day during the peak of the second wave.
Each district has been asked to create LMO storage tanks with the capacity of thrice the maximum oxygen that was used per day during the peak of the second wave. Based on this, collectors will have to earmark more funds to set up storage tanks across district, sub-district and rural hospitals. Districts have to submit this information to the state government by June 28.
Collectors and municipal commissioners have been asked to follow a formula for their oxygen consumption by relying on LMO for 70 per cent of their use, PSA plants for 20 per cent of their daily use and oxygen cylinders for the remaining 10 per cent. Health secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas, in his letter to all districts, said since experience with PSA plants had not been good, no new PSA plants would be set up unless there were exceptional reasons.
These plants directly use atmospheric air and separate it under pressure to filter out nitrogen. The oxygen that remains is 92 to 95 per cent pure, it is compressed and fed into the oxygen pipeline.
The state has asked districts to rely on setting up new PSA plants at rural hospitals only, if they can be utilised in the post-Covid period.
Earlier this month, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had asked government officials to prepare for the third wave and ensure the state became self-reliant in oxygen use.
During the second wave, Maharashtra required between 500 to 700 MT LMO from other states, with resources stretched on some days in rural and tribal hospitals.
Health officials said during the second wave, the state had low storage capacity of LMO resulting in daily dependence on fresh supply. “It would be adequate LMO storage which only (sic) will help us tide over the peak of the third wave of Covid-19, particularly if it starts early,” Vyas told all district officials.
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