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Health ministry alerts all State/UTs on oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients

ANI | Updated: Apr 05, 2020 02:51 IST

By Priyanka Sharama
New Delhi [India], April 5 (ANI): In the wake of the COVlD-l9 pandemic, the Union Health Ministry is concerned to ensure the adequate supply of oxygen. The Central government has directed all hospitals to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen so that there are no disruptions for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
The health ministry senior official--Vandana Gurnani has written a letter to all Chief Secretaries of the State/UTs in this regard. She has asked them to contact the control room emergency numbers of All India Industrial Gas Manufacturers' Association for any difficulty pertaining to the oxygen supply.
A senior health ministry official said: "Various precautions are needed in using oxygen supply for corona virus-infested environment. Liquid medical oxygen, oxygen generators and in some cases cylinders are methods that use a Medical Gas pipeline (MGPs) to supply oxygen to a hospital facility. This equipment will need exactly the same disinfection as is been given to any other machinery and surfaces in the hospital."
"Right from filling point to carriage in Critical Care facilities, cylinders are handled by various people and used by infected patients. The safe handling of cylinders is a major challenge that needs a very focused and concentrated effort by all involved in such a process," said the official.

The Central ministry has framed the new protocol related to the handling of the major sources of oxygen supplies, oxygen system components, and normative requirements of the quantity of oxygen. Moreover, the government has planned to source 10000 ventilators from China and it has placed orders for domestic production of 40000 ventilators for use of covid19 patients.
The cleaning and disinfection procedure should be performed at the hospital in a designated area. For the initial cleaning, hot potable water with detergents, not exceeding 50 degrees Celsius should be used for cleaning cylinders, wheel cylinder trolley, spanner, keys, regulators, and wrench, it read.
Valves and inlets should be closed and covered so that the water does not get inside the cylinders/containers. Under no circumstances, medical gas cylinder/container should be immersed in water. After cleaning the splendor/accessories with water and soap, the cylinder/container should be cleaned with a 1% sodium hypochlorite solution. Fogging is a suitable alternative, it stated.
The new guidelines for oxygen cylinders mentioned that while cleaning the cylinder/container, avoid cleaning agents that contain Ammonia, Amine based compounds or chlorine base compounds as they can cause corrosion of steel or aluminum alloy components or stress cracking of brass, including copper alloy components.
"In case the used cylinders have not been disinfected, then the cylinders should be kept in an isolation area, with the tag clearly mentioning that the cylinder is infected. The cylinders should be sent to the supplier only after these steps are followed. Personnel involved in filling, storing, handling and transporting of medical gas cylinder/container should be trained in this procedure and should be wearing protective gear at all times as per health ministry guidelines," it read, a copy which ANI has seen.
It is important to note that even hospitals having central supply systems / MGPS may need to rotate cylinders in new areas created for patient care. Therefore, special precautions mentioned as above to be observed when exchanging the cylinders, it read. (ANI)