By LE Desk

New Delhi, June 25, 2021: The Supreme Court appointed National Task Force (NTF) has proposed a formula for determining the oxygen needs for the country, which takes into account all levels of care amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

For example, 1.5 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) required for a 100-bed hospital with 25 per cent ICU beds is a formulation that may be examined, the NTF said in its report submitted to the apex court, reported news agency PTI.

“Such a formula will be part of a dynamic, evolving process and open to modification and consultation with states as the situation evolves,” said the 12-member panel constituted by the top court on May 6.

The active case load of states and Union Territories as also the doubling rate should be the main factors in allotting oxygen, addressing both the current situation and the future demand, it said.

“States/UTs will need to develop a mechanism which can predict oxygen inventory required for next 24 hours and next few days based on the calculations of the formula. These requirements will need to be submitted to the Central Oxygen War Room..,” it said.

The panel recommended that for ensuring judicious use of oxygen, audit of hospitals should be conducted including their pipeline systems saying such audits reduce the usage by 10 to 20 per cent, reported PTI.

Giving a number of suggestions, the NTF on the methodology for allocation of oxygen to states and UTs said guidance protocols may be developed for home based or facility based isolation and self-monitoring programmes and non-hospital COVID care facilities.

It said state-wise oxygen audit committees must be put in place, as per the mandate of the top court and there should be a buffer of at least six cylinders in the rural settings, to accommodate for delays and surge, or enough time to transfer to another facility.

Suggesting the way forward based on its recommendation, the panel told the top court that at the hospital level, measures like Oxygen audit, cleaning of the pipelines, triage system for patients should be taken.

It said that at the state level, measures like tracking of tankers, creating alert system for hospitals, war room for real time tracking systems, reports by oxygen audit committees can be taken, PTI said.

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