Hyderabad: Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender on 27 April slammed Centre's decision asking states to buy and distribute vaccines and called it narrow-minded. He urged the Central government to provide the vaccine to the states and reconsider its decision.
"The Central government has allotted Rs. 35,000 crore for the pandemic. It is the people's money that it is spending. When this is so, people should know the rule or Act which allows vaccines to be sold at Rs. 600 to Rs. 1,000 to state governments, but only at Rs. 150 to the Centre," he said.
No shortage of oxygen
The minister said that orders were issued to see to it that oxygen reserves, medical personnel, home isolation kits, and medicines were available in the state. Telangana was the first state to place an injection order of Rs. 6 lakh to prevent any trouble, he added.
The minister said Telangana was the first state to send oxygen tanks on a warplane to supply oxygen. "We provide oxygen to all public and private hospitals. At present, there is no shortage of oxygen in public and private hospitals, and hospitals affiliated to medical colleges. The state has allocated 400 metric tons of oxygen of which only 270 metric tons of oxygen is required," said Mr. Rajender.
He also said that he has written to the Union minister asking him to provide oxygen from Bellary rather than from faraway Orissa. The minister said that the oxygen problem has been overcome by setting up 20 kl liquid oxygen tankers in 22 hospitals.
The Center has given permission to set up five oxygen generator plants from PM Cares Fund. "We are setting up an oxygen generator at Gandhi Hospital which produces 28 lakh liters of oxygen per day. Oxygen generators with a capacity of 14 lakh liters are being set up at TIMS Hospital, eight-and-a-half lakh liters at Khammam Hospital, four-and-a-half-lakh liters at Bhadrachalam Hospital, and five-and-a-half-lakh liters per day at Karimnagar. These can produce a total of 62 lakh liters of oxygen per day. By setting them up we hope that future oxygen problems can also be overcome," said the minister.
He also said that at the beginning of the pandemic only 1,770 oxygen beds were available. The government has set up oxygen lines for tens of thousands of beds on a war footing. "We are preparing another 3,010 beds in the wake of news coming in that ventilators are currently not available and oxygen beds are not available," said the minister.
More beds being set up
The minister accepted that there is a shortage of beds in the hospitals in the state. He said that the government is setting up more beds in NIMS hospital and ESI hospital in Nacharam. The new 200 beds at NIMS will be for VIPs and doctors while 350 beds will be set up at ESI Nacharam. All these beds will be supplied with oxygen and some of them also have ICU facilities.
"In addition to these, we are supplying CPAP, BIPAP, monitors, and ventilators required for another thousand beds," said the minister.
Oxygen for private hospitals, too
The government last year issued orders to charge Rs. 4,000 for normal beds, Rs. 7,500 for those in the ICU and Rs. 9,000 for those in the ICU with a ventilator.
The minister said it was not pleasing for the society to demand that patients bring oxygen cylinders and injections, deposit large sums of money to be admitted to hospitals, and pay for dead bodies even after death. "Don't look at it from a business perspective at this time. Now we are repeatedly told to act like a man. We urge you to follow the orders of the government. If there is a shortage of oxygen even in a private hospital, the government will come forward and supply it," the minister said.
The minister also appealed to private hospitals to not stay profit-oriented.