Golam Mostafa Jibon:With the rising of coronavirus infection and death, an acute crisis of life saving Oxygen has been created again in the most hospitals of the country including Bogura, Khulna and Satkhira that leads to a fresh concern.
Experts believe that, the oxygen crisis could escalate further, if the current situation is not improved immediately.
The Department of Health is emphasizing on reducing the spread of corona by imposing strict lockdown across the country. It is also working hard to ensure supply of Oxygen cylinders to prevent deaths.
Prof. Robed Amin, Spokesman of Health Department and Line Director of National Disease Control Center said, “It is still possible to meet the demand with the amount of Oxygen produced in the country. However, if the corona patient increases further, Oxygen crisis may take serious turn.”
Citing the example of a neighboring country, he said, “The Oxygen crisis in India had intensified as the proportion of corona infections went out of control. Many patients died due to lack of Oxygen. Bangladesh government is already on high alert to prevent such a situation in the country.”
Authorities concerned have already started liaising with various industries and Oxygen suppliers to meet the current demand. However, complaint has intensified that a number of patients died at Bogura, Khulna and Satkhira hospitals for want of Oxygen. Many other hospitals are also facing same problems for the last few days.
The situation has been deteriorated in the country since the identification of the Indian variant of corona. Meanwhile, hospitals of the border districts are in severe crisis of Oxygen cylinders.
According to the Department of Health, the daily requirement of Oxygen in hospitals in the country was 120 to 150 metric tons. Due to the high incidence of infections since April, the daily demand rose to double. The government is currently supplying 190 metric tons of Oxygen to the hospitals. Several companies in the country produce Oxygen for commercial work. The government is taking Oxygen from four institutions for human treatment. However, the demand for Oxygen has been increased due to rising of infections that creates crisis.
Oxygen is usually imported from several countries including India, Pakistan and China. Due to the increase in corona infection in India, imports from that country have been stopped now. Imports of Oxygen from China and Pakistan are time consuming matter. Coronavirus infections have been increased since last March.
Although the number of attacks and deaths fluctuated from time to time, it takes a terrible turn in June and this July. The Department of Health estimates that the demand for Oxygen across the country will increase significantly in a week or two, if the infection continues to rise. The country’s Oxygen producers and suppliers claimed that the demand for Oxygen has increased since the Indian variant was introduced in the country. This demand is especially high in hospitals in border areas.
Experts seem that, the rate at which corona infection is increasing, it will be difficult to manage the situation. If the situation continues, it will be complicated to meet the demand in future. It is not easy to increase the productivity of Oxygen, if desired. It is also a matter of huge money over time.
Linde BD, one of the Oxygen supplying companies, meets 90 percent of the Oxygen demand of hospitals in the country.
Saika Majed, a spokeswoman for the company, said, “The demand for Oxygen had certainly increased. Although not in the whole of Bangladesh, the demand for Oxygen at different places has increased comparatively. Demand has also increased in the capital Dhaka.”
The Linde BD factory produces 110 metric tons of Oxygen daily. At the moment, It is providing 80 metric tons of Oxygen for medical treatment. If the condition deteriorates further, it will be very difficult to meet the demand.
Mustain Billah, chief executive officer of Islam Oxygen Limited, one of the manufacturers, said, they could now produce 40 metric tons of Oxygen daily. Of them, 25 metric tons are being provided to the hospitals.”
“The demand for oxygen has been steadily rising for the past few days. However, the company is supplying Oxygen at the previous price,” he said.
Abul Khair Oxygen Plant’s officials said, the company has the capacity to produce 200 metric tons of Oxygen per day. Of them, they are supplying 20 tons to the hospitals.
Professor Mohammad Sahidullah, convener of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Corona, said that, “Attention should pay to stop the cry for Oxygen. Necessary plans are needed to ensure the demand for Oxygen. How much Oxygen will be needed for the next month, how it will be supplied, it has to be confirmed. However, more emphasis should be placed on infection prevention.”
Experts said, the disease is not being brought under control due to non-compliance with hygiene rules, non-quarantine or isolation of infected people and excessive transmission of Delta variants.
Professor Nazmul Islam, a spokesman for the health department, said, “Corona infection could not be prevented just by stopping the car in the name of lockdown, as the virus is being transmitted from one to another. There is no substitute for more and more tests to prevent infection. The one, who is positive after the test, has to be taken to isolation, the family member has to be quarantined. But that is not being done perfectly. Isolation-quarantine is not happening anywhere in the village, upazila, district and capital as per need. Due to this, the infection is not being controlled.”
COVID-19 National Technical Advisory Committee member Prof. Iqbal Arsalan said, “We could not control it after the Delta variant entered into the country. The rules that were or need to be obeyed to control the corona were not able to be understood by the common people or the people did not listen to us. It is because of this condition that the infection is growing so much.”
“The reason for the rapid increase in infections is the Delta variant. It is highly contagious. But we could not take it seriously. If this continues for the next few days, the pace of infection will pick up further and the death toll will rise abnormally,” he added.
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