Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) minister Dr Rajendra Shingane held a review meeting with major medical oxygen manufacturers along with state FDA officials in the wake of growing demand for oxygen in the state.
The meeting was attended by Saurabh Vijay, secretary, Medical Education and Medicine, Arun Unhale, Commissioner, Maharashtra FDA, N Ramaswami, Commissioner, Health Services, Sunil Bhardwaj, Joint Commissioner (Vigilance), Dr Nitin Ambadekar, joint director, health services and representatives of oxygen manufacturers Linde and Inox.
The Minister was apprised of the difficulties faced by the manufacturers and how to resolve it through a stakeholder consultative approach in the larger public interest. During the meeting, the Minister said that the demand for oxygen in the state.
The Minister directed the oxygen manufacturers to strictly abide by the instructions given to them to distribute 80 per cent of the oxygen produced for medical purposes only and rest 20 per cent for industrial purposes. “Only eleven percent of the patients need to be given oxygen. About 12,000 patients are in the ward and 7,840 patients are in the intensive care unit who need oxygen,” Dr Shingane stated.
FDA Minister pointed out that as the state has abundant reserves of oxygen, it needs to be properly distributed with proper coordination in supply. He advised to be vigilant so that there would be no shortage of oxygen anywhere due to transportation or logistical problems.
Following instructions were given to the manufacturers like in some places refilling is being done on time but it should be continued round the clock. Larger tanks belonging to the manufacturer should also be used for transporting medical oxygen or liquid agents with the permission of the concerned department.
According to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the oxygen manufacturers Linde and Inox, transport should not be done between 12 am and 5 am, but in case of emergency, transportation with two drivers should be arranged 24 hours a day.
Also read: FAQs on Medical Oxygen
Arrangements should be made for immediate download as soon as the vehicle arrives in consultation with those who want to download the stock of liquid oxygen. Arrangements should be made so that the manufacturer can take the vehicle or tanker on lease and also take the stock from other manufacturers and deliver it to the refilling station or hospital.
In addition to oxygen tankers in the state, oxygen tankers should also be procured from nearby states to supply oxygen to the state. Possibility of tankers of other industrial gases to be used for transporting oxygen need to be explored.
“In any case, everyone should be careful not to endanger the health of the patient due to lack of oxygen and instructed to take all possible measures,” FDA Minister said.