New Delhi: The Centre has decided to immediately install DRDO-Tata Sons oxygen generation plants at various state-run hospitals like AIIMS, NIC Jhajjar, Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital among others, which shall have a capacity to generate 1,000 litres of oxygen per minute.
The decision was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan as he reviewed the status of oxygen availability at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here and various other central government hospitals, and the steps being taken for timely augmenting the supply.
He also reviewed the preparedness of the central government hospitals in the national capital–Safdarjung Hospital, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and AIIMS–for clinical management of severe COVID-19 patients, a health ministry statement said.
The minister directed the officials concerned to expedite installation of five Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants at all locations in Delhi hospitals, it said.
He also directed the state-run hospitals to be prepared with expansion plans for providing timely treatment to coronavirus patients in the days to come.
“A decision was taken to install DRDO-Tata Sons oxygen generation plants at AIIMS, NIC Jhajjar, Safdarjung, LHMC and Dr RML Hospital immediately. These plants shall have a capacity to generate 1,000 litres of oxygen per minute,” the statement stated.
Vardhan noted that the country is passing through the second COVID-19 wave. Most of the states and Union territories (UTs) are reporting a very high number of daily cases and the daily mortality has also increased, he said.
The Union government has been leading the fight against COVID-19 through a ‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ approach. The hospital infrastructure has been substantially ramped up through various proactive decisions taken by the government in collaboration with the states/UTs.
In view of the unprecedented surge in the number of daily cases, the requirement of oxygen-supported and ICU beds in addition to adequate oxygen supply along with medicines and trained manpower has increased manifold, the statement quoted Vardhan as saying.
The health minister also reviewed in detail beds availability, including oxygen supported and ICU-ventilator beds.
Meanwhile, the central government hospitals talked about the immediate steps taken for augmenting the beds availability to cater to the immediate needs of COVID-19 patients.
“The Union minister directed all the hospitals to urgently start work on the augmentation plans through fabricated hospitals, repurposing non-COVID beds (such that the healthcare services are not unduly and adversely impacted), conversion of buildings/blocks and wards in the existing premises into dedicated COVID facilities,” the statement said.
It was also informed that Safdarjung Hospital was augmenting the bed availability with 172 more COVID beds (total being 391). With this, the Super Specialty Block at the hospital will be fully converted to a specialty block for only coronavirus patients. Also, 46 beds (including 32 ICU beds) are being added with the help of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dr RML Hospital stated that it is converting non-COVID buildings for dedicated COVID treatment facilities. This step shall provide 200 additional beds for the COVID affected.
In LHMC, 240 more beds are being created by CSIR which shall become operationalised soon, the statement said.
Shekhar Mande, secretary, DSIR & Director General, CSIR assured that all support is being provided to strengthen and expedite the ongoing efforts, it said.
AIIMS director Randeep Guleria outlined the expansion plans for adding more beds in other wards/blocks such as the Burns and Plastic Surgery Centre, NCI Jhajjar, Dr R P Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences and the geriatric wards. The total capacity shall be enhanced to more than 1,000 beds for only COVID-19 patients, according to the statement.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan underlined the measures taken by the government to resolve and streamline logistic issues related to transport of oxygen supply from manufacturing sources to hospitals.
He also talked about the 24X7 Control Room of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) that is working to resolve all transportation-related issues of Delhi for smooth supply of oxygen.