Khaskhabar/Oxygen is vital for patients of Covid-19–a respiratory disease that mainly attacks the lungs and leads to dangerously low levels of oxygen in the body.“Many of the patients can be saved by giving just one treatment, that is by giving them oxygen,” said Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, at a government press conference on April 23, 2020. “Therefore a strategy of having more oxygen-beds is based on this,” he said, adding that when oxygen levels in blood fall, it can trigger cardiac and neurological problems.
About 15 percent of all Covid-19 patients with “severe infection” will require oxygen while 5 percent with “critical infection” will need a ventilator, the World Health Organization has said. The rest of the 80 percent will be asymptomatic or mildly ill and will not need oxygen.
States are still trying to ramp up capacity to provide oxygen
Oxygen is listed as an essential medicine and is regulated under India’s National List of Essential Medicines. It is also on the WHO’s model list of essential medicines. States are still trying to ramp up capacity to provide oxygen and ventilators to Covid-19 patients. The pandemic presents an uncertain time, for both demand and supply of oxygen in India.
Challenging to estimate future demand for oxygen for Covid-19
There is no official data on India’s overall oxygen requirement and hospitals might find it challenging to estimate future demand for oxygen for Covid-19 patients. In 2017, the critical role of oxygen made headlines when, at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, at least 24 children died because the hospital ran out of oxygen. Investigations revealed the fatal conseques.
Oxygen Supply Is A Challenge In Rural India
In a “worst-case scenario”, if all patients in a 10-bed ICU need a ventilator, that medical facility would need 40 cylinders of 6,000 litres of oxygen each per day, according to a website on medical inventory, facilitated by India’s scientific adviser. This facility will also need a reserve backup of 10 cylinders of 1,246 liters.
India’s Capacity To Supply Oxygen
Oxygen is artificially produced via oxygen concentrators or generators at gas plants around the country. It is then transported by road to medical establishments. Medical oxygen is supplied through several modes. In well established set-ups, liquid oxygen is filled into large tanks built into the ground, then supplied via a network of pipelines which reach an output point on a wall near a patient