The Central government has begun allocating medical equipment received as assistance from foreign countries with Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand figuring among the beneficiary states in the first batch.
In a May 3 letter to different states and UTs, the Centre said Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been allocated oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and pulse oximeters to meet the shortfall of critical medical equipment and supplies to treat Covid-19 patients.
In the first instalment, a total of 95 oxygen concentrators have been allocated to Haryana. 35 of these concentrators, out of the 150 donated by Taiwan, will reach a Gurugram warehouse on Tuesday, a top government official said.
The other 60 oxygen concentrators marked for Haryana will come from the equipment received from Kuwait. Their delivery date is currently not known.
Centre also said that Punjab will get 50 out of the 150 oxygen concentrators donated by Taiwan. Taiwan also donated 500 oxygen cylinders, out of which Himachal has been allocated 185 and Uttrakhand 300.
Himachal will also get additional 282 oxygen cylinders donated by Kuwait, as per the letter of Union ministry of health and family welfare.
A state official said Haryana has also been allocated 113 Pulse oximeters [received from abroad?], which will be dispatched to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Jhajjar.
India has received thousands of tonnes of medical supplies including oxygen generation units, cylinders, concentrators, cryogenic tankers, separators, ventilators, face masks etc., from countries such as the United States, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, Belgium, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Thailand, and Taiwan to name a few.
The Haryana government officials said they will start allocating the medical equipment to different hospitals in order of priority once they receive it. Shortage of medical oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients has resulted into a big crisis in Haryana hospitals. The Central government had initially allocated 162MT of medical oxygen to the state at the beginning of the crisis last month, which had to be revised quickly to 257 MT last week; however, the state government has now reached out to Centre with the demand for 300 MT of life-saving gas to meet the ever expanding demand.
The chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar has been reviewing oxygen availability status with visits to each district hospital after many Covid patients recently died due to its short supply in private hospitals.
The state government has also formed district-level teams of officials to monitor and ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen in all hospitals, public or private.
Meanwhile, state health minister Anil VIj on Tuesday made it mandatory for all hospitals in the state with 50 or more beds to have their own oxygen generation plant. He said the decision was taken after learning from the Covid-19 experience.