May 02, 2021

Kerala: Timely intervention and Planning made the State Oxygen Surplus

N S Sajith

CHETAN Kumar, also known as Chetan Ahimsa, is a Kannada film actor, public intellectual, and political activist, has written on his Facebook page: “Amidst the horror of India's lack of oxygen, the state of Kerala is a shining model. Kerala learned from the Covid crisis; spent money on oxygen factories; increased oxygen supply by 58 per cent; now supplying oxygen to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa. Kerala is a model state and a real role model. For those who ask ‘if not Modi, who? Google Pinarayi Vijayan.”

As the state struggles hard to contain the deadly second wave of Covid19, Kerala successfully managed to help these neighbouring states in the view of depleting oxygen stock. Recently Kerala government received a request from Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal and the government is examining the possibility of sending the tankers to Delhi.

The tankers sent by the Kerala government were rushed to cross the border near Mangaluru, which the BJP led Karnataka government closed with  heaps of soil and barricades to restrict the entry of Covid 19 patients from Kerala in early 2020. Many from the northern districts of Kannur and Kasargod used to resort to hospitals in Mangaluru for better treatment. Now almost all patients have sufficient facilities in Kasargod as a new hospital started functioning in this district bordering Karnataka.

Receiving the consignment of oxygen from Kerala, Goa health minister, Vishwajit Rane expressed his gratitude towards Kerala through his tweet. "I extend my gratitude to  Shailaja teacher Madam, Health Minister of Kerala for helping us with the movement of 20,000 litres of liquid oxygen for COVID patients in the state of Goa,” he tweeted.

Kerala has registered a success story in this field through a systematic way of developing liquid medical oxygen plants in government hospitals. The state government has provided sufficient funds to ensure the stock of oxygen. It helps to provide care to the patients in ICUs. In Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, the capacity of plants doubled. There are two liquid oxygen plants each in all ten medical colleges in the state. Kerala increased its oxygen availability by 58 per cent in one year.

Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan told that steps are being taken to increase oxygen beds at all major hospitals, CFLTS(Covid First-Line Treatment Centres), and second-line treatment centre. Beds in ESI hospitals will also be converted to oxygen beds. Kerala will prepare a buffer stock of oxygen taking into account the changing situation. Despite being oxygen-surplus, the state is not in a position to take it easy in light of the phenomenal increase in the spread of the disease, he said, after a meeting of high-level officials.