Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
The shortage of oxygen in Delhi has now become a national subject. Neither SOS calls from hospitals are stopping, nor are the reports of patients dying without oxygen in hospitals ceasing. The courts are repeatedly reprimanding the government for this. Now, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to learn oxygen management from Mumbai. So what is this Mumbai model, why is the Supreme Court praising this model? Let's try to understand.
According to the information given by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to the Supreme Court, the densely populated Mumbai, which has crossed the figures of 92,000 patients, is sustaining on 275 metric tonnes of oxygen. Following which, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah expressed regret over the high number of deaths in Delhi and asked why Delhi needed 700 metric tonnes of oxygen.
Additional commissioner of BMC Suresh Kakani told The Quint, “The need for oxygen increased manifolds in the second wave. But the BMC was ready with its basic structure, which helped the patients.
Mumbai has a total of 28,000 beds in 16 Peripherals, four major hospitals and seven jumbo COVID centres. Around 12,000-13,000 beds are oxygen units.Suresh Kakani, Additionalcommissioner of BMC
From where does Mumbai get oxygen?
The BMC officer involved in the oxygen management further explained that in view of the increasing oxygen demand at the beginning of the second wave, BMC conducted a survey of oxygen consumption at all these places. The survey showed that Mumbai’s oxygen need is about 235 metric tonnes every day. BMC can source 130 to 275 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen every day from private companies, owing to the agreement with firms like Inox and Linde. Their plants, located in Raigad, Malegoan, Bhilar and Dolvi in
Maharashtra can provide liquid oxygen via road. So, Mumbai benefits from proximity to these plants.
How did Mumbai managed with just 275 metric tonnes of oxygen?
According to BMC, teams of doctors created protocols for the use of oxygen so that oxygen does not get wasted. Experts were rolled in to give training on minimum consumption by monitoring saturation and leakage. This is the reason why 275 metric tonnes of oxygen seemed sufficient in Mumbai despite the city having more than 90,000 active patients.
How was the oxygen model converted from refill to storage?
Initially, BMC was dependent on the oxygen supply through refills every day. During the first wave, the officials realised that the refill system would not be efficient in a long run. Therefore, they switched to jumbo cylinders with 10 times more capacity. That’s how BMC installed liquid medical oxygen tanks with a capacity of 13 thousand kilo liters.
Facilities, which had more beds, installed two jumbo cylinders that would take care of oxygen supply of all the beds for 2 to 3 days. However, only 10-20 percent oxygen was in use then. Now, practically every hospital has been converted from refilling mode to storage-supply mode.
Apart from this, BMC has not scrapped the old cylinders and kept them in reserve. When faced with oxygen shortage, they can immediately shift to a regular cylinder and run the oxygen supply for the next 1 to 2 days.