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India gets first lot of oxygen concentrators to treat mild COVID-19

India on Wednesday got a shot in the arm in its efforts to tackle the covid-19 pandemic when it received the first tranche of 4,475 oxygen concentrators from Temasek Foundation, Singapore, for management of moderate coronavirus cases in the country.

This comes even as the country on Wednesday registered the highest ever recoveries among covid-19 patients in a single day with 28,472 persons cured of the highly infectious disease, the Union health ministry said. The total number of patients who have recovered reached 772,488 even as the total number of cases crossed 1,200,000, taking the recovery rate to 63.13%. As many as 19 states and Union territories are showing a recovery rate higher than the national average.

The efforts are set to bear more fruit with the Temasek Foundation offering to donate 20,000 oxygen concentrators to India. The remaining 15,525 oxygen concentrators will be received in August, according to Ashwini Kumar Choubey, minister of state for health and family welfare, who received the first tranche.

The Indian Red Cross Society facilitated the import of devices and Tata Trusts coordinated the process.

The oxygen concentrators convert atmospheric air to therapeutic oxygen that has a concentration of 90-95%. As the machine obviates the need for transportation and refilling of heavy oxygen cylinders, they can be placed in wards where patients are provided care, he said. These machines can be used at covid care centres and railway coaches that have been repurposed as covid centres.

“The devices will be made available to states and Union territories for use in management of people with moderate cases of covid-19, who may require low oxygen support. Oxygen concentrators will aid the fight against covid-19,” Choubey said. The devices are especially useful in remote areas, where logistical constraints may hinder continuous supply of oxygen cylinders.

India, which is in the Unlock 2.0 phase, is gradually learning some lessons in its fight against coronavirus. The country tried to upgrade its health infrastructure during the lockdown and this is set to be beneficial even while tackling outbreaks of other communicable diseases.

“Investment in public health is always beneficial for the development of people, community, and nation. Communicable diseases will remain a threat and the world must develop tools to handle these at the primary stage of development of epidemiology and microbiology,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, professor and head, department of community medicine, Safdarjung Hospital.

“The country should aim for the utilization of technology for sustainable development to reduce the use of transport, electricity, and other resources. It should also stress on the adoption of a new lifestyle where physical activity needs to be increased, as otherwise a non-communicable disease pandemic will be soon witnessed,” said Kishore. – CQAI 520