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Bihar: Boost to medical oxygen in state facilities by Aug

Cryogenic liquid medical oxygen (LMO) tanks and 30-bedded Covid-19 dedicated paediatric intensive care units (PICU) would be set up at 10 existing state-run medical colleges in Bihar by August 31 as part of the government’s preparation for the third wave of the pandemic, officials said.

A separate 10-bed PICU, dedicated for Covid-19 patients, would also be set around the same time at 36 district hospitals in the state, officials said.

For storage of medical oxygen, four institutions, including the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), all in Patna, and the Darbhanga Medical College Hospital at Laheriasarai in Darbhanga, will have two cryogenic LMO tanks of 20 kilo-litre capacity each.

The remaining six institutions, including the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College Hospital (ANMMCH) in Gaya, Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital (JLNMCH) in Bhagalpur, Vardhaman Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) at Pawapuri (Nalanda) and the Government Medical College Hospitals at Bettiah and Madhepura will have one cryogenic LMO tank each of 20 kilo-litre storage capacity.

These tanks will be installed in medical colleges on a rental basis, with the government paying roughly between ₹35,000 and ₹40,000 per tank monthly. The firm installing them will be responsible for the maintenance of tanks and supply of oxygen, officials said.

The state has also decided to instal 20 kilo-litre cryogenic LMO tanks at all its upcoming medical colleges, including Bhojpur, Samastipur, Jhanjharpur and Purnia.

“In addition to oxygen tanks, the government had also decided to have Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen generation plants at 122 locations for supply of piped oxygen at medical colleges, district hospitals and sub-divisional hospitals,” said Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey.

Each of the 36 district hospitals in the state would have at least one such oxygen generation plant. All the 122 oxygen plants would be ready by August 31, he added.

One such plant was commissioned at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) in Patna on July 18 while seven others were also on the verge of being commissioned shortly, the minister added.

The PSA plant at IGIMS will generate 233 litres per minute oxygen would cater to refilling around 50 D-type oxygen cylinders, each containing around 47 litres of oxygen, in a day, said officials.

These steps had been taken given the sharp increase in demand for oxygen during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic in April and May, said officials.

Even during the peak of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey claimed that the state managed its demand for medical oxygen with cooperation from the Centre.

“The daily requirement of medical oxygen went up 14 times from 16 metric tonnes during the first week of April to 232 MT in 20-25 days. Despite the steep increase in oxygen demand, which no doubt created pressure on the system, we were able to arrange and provide oxygen to all government and private hospitals with cooperation from the Centre. The Centre increased our allocation and also helped in the transportation of medical oxygen, while we increased the number of refilling plants,” added Pandey. Hindustan Times