July 25, 2021


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Central Oxygen Plant : Half a year did not work

With the rise of corona infection, the supply of uninterrupted oxygen to the designated hospitals began. When the rate of infection decreases, the speed of work also decreases. Even after one year, uninterrupted oxygen supply was not ensured all over the country.

An uninterrupted supply of oxygen is an important part of the medical management of the respiratory disease Covid-19. According to health department sources, the government planned to set up central oxygen plants (uninterrupted oxygen supply) in 69 hospitals across the country last year. Oxygen supply has started in 36 places till Thursday.

The three responsible officials of the healthcare sector told Prothom Alo that the plan taken in May last year was finalized in June. After that, the National Electro-Medical Equipment Maintenance Workshop and Training Center (NIMEU and TC) got the job of setting up plants in 26 hospitals. The work orders of the remaining 53 hospitals were suspended due to indecision. Work orders were issued in these hospitals in a hurry when the outbreak resumed last October due to fears of an increase in winter infections. But the procrastination started with determining the list of hospitals. The list of 23 hospitals was finalized by November. The list of 30 more hospitals was finalized by the health department in a meeting last Wednesday.

Work to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply began in May last year. Out of 69 hospitals, 36 have been started.
Two officials in charge of the Ministry of Health told Prothom Alo that many countries have not been able to take such a decision quickly since the onset of the global epidemic. The Bangladesh government has made a good decision to save lives from the very beginning. The installation of the oxygen plant would have been completed by last year. At least one hospital in each district had an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. But due to negligence and mismanagement a good decision could not be implemented. Attempts are now being made to finish the work quickly as the infection continues to grow. Occasionally there was an attempt to set up an oxygen plant as the infection was reduced.

According to the Department of Health, corona infection in the country started in March. In June-July, it reached its highest level last year. Infections began to decline again in mid-December. New infections have been on the rise since March 10. More than five thousand patients are being identified daily for four days. In addition, deaths in Corona are also increasing.

Public health experts are blaming the incompetence and inefficiency of the health department for not being able to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply even after one year of infection. They say every district hospital must have at least an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. According to the World Health Organization, 5 to 15 percent of corona patients may need oxygen supply.

In this regard, the director of the health department (hospital) Farid Hossain Mia said in the first light, it is not possible to finish all at once. Work in progress. Nimiu and HED have brought the work to an end. 30 works have been started through World Bank and UNICEF.

Nimiu has launched 21 out of 30
Nimiu & TC is working to set up oxygen plants in 30 hospitals. Of these, 27 have been completed by the state-owned company. Oxygen supply has already been started in 21 of them.

In this regard, Anjuman Ara, Chief Technical Manager of Nimiu & TC, said in the first light, the work of 6 more has been completed. The supply of oxygen will start within two weeks after getting the license from the Department of Explosives.

An official of Nimiu & TC said work is underway to set up a plant at the Government Employees Hospital and Habiganj 250-bed hospital in Dhaka. These two may be launched next May.

HED has launched 18 out of 19
Another state-owned institution, the Department of Health Engineering (HED), has been tasked with installing gas pipelines and liquid oxygen tanks in 19 hospitals outside Dhaka. Of these, 9 were 250-bed hospitals and 10 were 100-bed hospitals. HED was allowed to operate in 19 Sadar Hospitals in 19 districts outside Dhaka in two phases. Oxygen supply has been started in 16 hospitals. And Dinajpur General and Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital are nearing completion.

HED Additional Chief Engineer said. Abdul Hamid said in the first light, Thakurgaon will be launched in a week. And there was no place to set up tanks in Dinajpur. The place has been finalized, it will also be finished very quickly.


UNICEF: None of the 30 has been launched
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Bangladesh will install gas pipelines and liquid oxygen tanks in 30 hospitals with the help of the Covid Fund funded by the World Bank. Despite such a decision in June last year, they received final approval from the Department of Health in October. Then began the complication with the list of hospitals. Nimiu and HED are preparing to work in some of the hospitals on their list. So it takes a few more months to adjust the list. The Department of Health finalized the list after meeting with three organizations last Wednesday. UNICEF has already started work at Mugda Medical College Hospital in Dhaka. It could launch in the next two weeks.

A responsible official of UNICEF Bangladesh told Prothom Alo on condition of anonymity that if the approval was given in June, everything would be launched in September. When the corona increases, the tonic moves. Now the target is to finish by next June. All equipment has been imported. Where the Corona situation is worse, work will be done first with priority.

UNICEF sources say the remaining 29 are without Mugda

The hospital is outside Dhaka. All are about 250-bed Sadar Hospital. The Department of Public Works is setting up Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in 13 hospitals. Oxygen plants will be set up in these hospitals soon.

11 months to implement the decision!
The Department of Health had on May 5 written to the Ministry of Health to set up liquid oxygen tanks in various hospitals to provide uninterrupted supply of oxygen to Corona patients. In the letter, the department said tanks need to be installed to ensure oxygen supply through the existing medical gas pipeline system as the number of patients continues to rise due to the Corona epidemic.

About 11 months have passed since then. Now that the infection has increased again, the work of supplying oxygen has begun.

In this regard, Bay-Nazir Ahmed, former director of the disease control branch of the health department, told Prothom Alo that 50 percent of the capacity in the health sector is wasted due to mismanagement and lack of coordination. It is important to take action against those who are behind the failure to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply. The key to corona medical management is the supply of oxygen. Failure to ensure this rapidly across the country will increase mortality.