Gist of O2 Management Notes | Study Gist of Rajya Sabha TV / RSTV (now Sansad TV) - UPSC

UPSC: Gist of O2 Management Notes | Study Gist of Rajya Sabha TV / RSTV (now Sansad TV) - UPSC

The document Gist of O2 Management Notes | Study Gist of Rajya Sabha TV / RSTV (now Sansad TV) - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Gist of Rajya Sabha TV / RSTV (now Sansad TV).
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC
Context

The government has undertaken certain key measures to address the demand for oxygen amidst the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. 

Background

  • The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which started in early April 2021 has led to severe conditions across the country. 
  • The cases in India have increased at a shocking rate causing unprecedented devastation across the nation. 
  • This has surged the demand for hospital beds, medicines and oxygen in India amongst which the rising demand for oxygen created a sense of urgency. 
  • To address this issue, the government has introduced some key measures for the availability and procurement of oxygen in India.
What is the importance of Oxygen in treating COVID-19 patients?
  • Amongst all the cases of COVID-19, around 80% can be treated simply by home isolation and the remaining 20% are the cases in which oxygen is required because of the deprivation of oxygen supply at the tissue level. This situation is known as hypoxia.
  • Hypoxia causes certain chemical reactions in the body which leads to multiple organ failures. That is why oxygen is required for the immediate treatment of hypoxia caused by the novel coronavirus. 
Major issues with oxygen supply

Availability

  • During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of spread was lower than the second wave. Hence, it was manageable to ensure the availability of oxygen during the first wave. 
    • But, the second wave is much more severe than the first wave and despite having an adequate supply of oxygen, there is a shortage of oxygen in the country because of the constraints present in the logistics.

Transportation

  • The second issue associated with oxygen supply is related to transportation. The major challenges with respect to the transportation of oxygen are:
    • Since it is a hazardous chemical, it requires a lot of training to transport oxygen.
    • The turnaround time is very high. Most of the production of oxygen happens in the eastern part and most of the consumption occurs in the western part of the country. It takes around 3-4 days for a container to reach from the production point to the consumption point. Again, for refilling, the same time is required. 

The panic created by the pandemic

  • The second wave of the pandemic has created a scare among people due to which everyone at the hospital is making the demand for oxygen and beds. 
  • Among 20% of the hospitalized cases, 17% require oxygen and the other 3% require Intensive Care Units (ICU). 
  • All the patients are not required to be treated by oxygen, there are other measures available to take care of the covid patients. But, the panic has created a spike in the demand for oxygen beds.
Measures Taken by The Government

The government has taken some important measures to ensure the availability, procurement, and storage of oxygen in India. They are discussed below:

At Production level

  • According to the government, the production of oxygen in India has increased from 5700 metric tons in August 2020 to 9446 tons in May 2021. Now, the per day oxygen production has risen from 6700 metric tonnes to 7314 metric tonnes.
  • Capacity utilization has gone up from 84% to 129% during the same period. 
  • Apart from these measures, the government is ensuring 50000 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen through imports from overseas.
  • The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has set up two oxygen plants in the All India Institute of Medical Science Trauma Centre and Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Delhi. 
  • Around 500 more plants (funded by the PM Cares Fund) will also be set up by the DRDO in different hospitals across the country very soon.

At Transportation level

  • Indian Railways has come forward to take care of the oxygen transportation amidst the ongoing crisis in the country. 
  • Indian Railways is running the “Oxygen Express” to supply Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to different states amidst increased demand due to COVID-19.

At Distribution level

  • The Supreme Court has set up a National Task Force (NTF) to streamline oxygen allocation to states across the country. 
  • The 12-member task force formed by the Supreme Court will also review and suggest measures to ensure the availability of essential drugs and medicines, and help states in adopting remedial measures to ensure preparedness for future emergencies. 
  • It will facilitate and provide a response to the public on Covid-19 queries, based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge. 
  • The establishment of the task force will provide the Union Government with inputs and strategies for meeting the challenges of the pandemic on a transparent and professional basis, in the present and in future. 
  • The Supreme Court has also come up with 12-point terms of reference, which include assessing and making recommendations for the entire country based on the need for and the availability and distribution of medical oxygen and to facilitate auditing by sub-groups within each State and UT.
  • It said the sub-groups will do an audit to determine whether the supplies allocated by the Centre reach the concerned State/UT.

At Storage Level

  • The National Medical Council (NMC) has made it mandatory for all new medical institutions to come up with their own oxygen generation plants. This will ensure the procurement of enough oxygen in the country.
Way Forward
  • The government should make it mandatory for all hospitals and medical institutions to install their own oxygen generation plants to deal with any kind of future health emergencies.
  • There is a three-tier government structure in the country – Centre, State, and Local government. Hence, necessary actions should be taken at all three levels to address this crisis.
  • Citizens should also come forward to put the available resources to optimal use so that more lives can be saved.
The document Gist of O2 Management Notes | Study Gist of Rajya Sabha TV / RSTV (now Sansad TV) - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Gist of Rajya Sabha TV / RSTV (now Sansad TV).
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC

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