Kochi: Health Minister K K Shailaja has said that daily oxygen audits will be carried out at the COVID hospitals in the government sector in the state amid reports of scarcity and price hike. The Minister said that oxygen supply would be ensured at all hospitals.
The audit will be carried out by Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd in coordination with the control room of the health department.
Malayala Manorama had earlier reported about the scarcity of oxygen supply at various government hospitals, including the medical colleges.
The Union Home Ministry had also directed the state government to form committees to ensure medical oxygen supply.
The daily oxygen requirement for COVID treatment in the state is 7.63 metric tonne, and 177 metric tonne has been made available, the Minister said.
The audit will keep a tab on the oxygen requirement for those in ventilator support and others under treatment at wards, and the current oxygen availability at hospitals.
Oxygen cylinders would be distributed at community health centres, family welfare sub-centres, taluk, district and general hospitals. Also, special oxygen cylinders would be provided for ambulances.
About 21,000 fingertip pulse oximeters have been distributed for those under home care after COVID treatment. About 600 desktop pulse oximeters and 2004 ventilators have been provided for the COVID hospitals, the minister added.
Action against price hike, artificial scarcity
The Centre has said that action would be initiated against price hike or artificial scarcity.
The Union Home Secretary had a called meeting of liquid oxygen plant owners the other day after complaints were raised over price hike.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one cubic metre of oxygen was available for Rs 8-9. However, this has now risen to Rs 40-50 in some states.
The secretary had sought an explanation on the price hike while pointing out that the price of raw materials has not increased. The secretary told the plant owners that strict action would be taken and this would be reported to the central government.