The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has issued a notice directing oxygen producing industries not to supply oxygen to any government, community or private hospital without its recommendation.
The Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) of MoHP issued a notice on Saturday to 10 oxygen industries directing them to provide oxygen only if hospitals have the recommendation of the Ministry.
While the notice states that the decision was made to manage sales and distribution in the context of the need for oxygen for coronavirus-infected patients, private hospitals said lengthening the process to procure oxygen could put critically ill COVID-infected patients at grave risk.
According to the Association of Private Health Institutions Nepal (APHIN), oxygen suppliers have started blocking oxygen supply after receiving such instructions from the Ministry.
Hemraj Dahal, the secretary general of AFIN, said that the Ministry’s instruction would put patients receiving treatment at risk and hospitals will not be able to admit new patients as well.
“Because of this decision, all private hospitals don’t have enough oxygen supply so we can’t admit new patients anymore,” said Dahal.
Doctors say that more than 80 percent of coronavirus patients admitted to the hospital are given oxygen support and most private hospitals do not have their own oxygen plants.
Stating that the Ministry had decided to disrupt the supply of oxygen without any prior notice, Dahal said, “There are no beds available in government hospitals, there is no oxygen in private hospitals where beds are available. So how will the coronavirus patients be treated?”
APHIN objected the Ministry’s decision saying it was impractical and any decision relating to public health should have been taken with the consultation of stakeholders concerned.
APHIN has urged the government to reconsider the decision and suggested forming a team of experts for the management of COVID-19 infected people, infection control, and easy as well as quality treatment of citizens.