He said even a single death due to alleged unavailability of oxygen causes tremendous social unrest and negates all the other good work, if any.
“A confidence building message has to go out loud and clear that a premier institution like the Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu will ensure that not a single death occurs on account of oxygen unavailability,” said Singh, the minister of state for personnel.
Singh, also a Lok Sabha member from J&K’s Udhampur, called for the audit of oxygen cylinders and ventilators in the Union territory for equitable distribution in the time of distress for needy patients, according to a Personnel Ministry statement.
He made the clarion call during a high-level meeting of administration and medical staff convened by him in view of certain reports emanating from GMC, Jammu with regard to COVID-19 management facilities.
The meeting was attended by Advisor to LG, R R Bhatnagar, Financial Commissioner, Atal Dullo, Divisional Commissioner Raghav Langer, DC Jammu Anshul Garg apart from the Principal, GMC, Jammu, Dr Shashi Sudan Sharma and others.
Singh said community management is a vital component of optimum COVID-19 management and the GMC as well as the administrative authorities should not feel shy of taking the community into confidence and soliciting their cooperation.
He asked about the steps being taken by the administration for augmenting oxygen capacity of the Government Medical College, Jammu and other district hospitals across the UT.
In this regard, he was informed that two oxygen plants each of 1,200 lpm capacity have been set up in GMC, Jammu, the statement said.
A 1,000 lpm oxygen plant has also been set up in Chest and Diseases Hospital, Jammu, it said.
Further, in Government Hospital, Gandhi Nagar another 1,000 lpm plant has been set up, the statement said, adding that two more plants are being set up in GMC, Jammu to augment its oxygen capacity.
With regard to the buffer stocks of oxygen cylinders, Singh was informed that presently a stock of 400 cylinders was present in GMC, Jammu, it said.
While commending the steps being taken to augment the oxygen capacity of hospitals, the minister called for the audit of oxygen capacity as well as ventilators in the UT so that no lives are lost for the want of critical care.
He further expressed his support to the administration and hospital staff for fighting the battle against COVID and saving the lives of people.
Singh instructed the divisional commissioner to post one mechanical engineer and one biomedical engineer in the GMC to exclusively look after the upkeep of oxygen supply so that the patient’s attendants or nurses do not have to undergo the ordeal of struggling to maintain oxygen supply.
He asked for a regular issue of medical bulletin by the authorities and keeping public representatives informed about what is being done by the GMC.
Singh also reviewed the situation of ventilators to handle critical patients.
In this regard, he was informed that around 60 ventilators and respirators were being provided to GMC, Jammu, the statement said.
To overcome the shortage of staff, Singh asked the administration to engage post-graduate students, final year medical students, paramedical and nursing students.
He urged the GMC doctors to surrender their private rooms/chambers in Chopra Nursing Home so that they could be converted into COVID chambers.
For the patient’s relatives, Singh asked for arranging proper SOPs and PPE kits.
Instead of being dealt by police force, the patient’s relatives should be sensitively counselled with the help of social volunteers and well-meaning NGOs, he said.
For this, the minister assigned the responsibility to DC Garg.
While taking stock of the vaccination status in Jammu, Singh was informed that around 96 per cent of population of the age-group of 45 plus had been vaccinated in Jammu alone, while the figure was around 60 per cent for the whole UT.
He was also informed that the vaccination in the age-group 18-45 years was under process and daily around 200-250 shots in this age group were being provided in Jammu and around 16,438 people had received the first dose.
Singh suggested that better information flow to the public should be carried out to facilitate the vaccination process and if a vaccination centre is not operating at a certain time, it should be frankly conveyed to the public.
He said that the referral process should be streamlined and only patients that need critical care should be shifted to GMC, Jammu.
In this regard, Singh was informed that home kits were being provided to COVID-19 patients and call centres had been engaged for making calls to them on a regular basis so that patients, only in dire need, may visit hospitals.
The minister also called for better coordination and synergy between various departments, involvement of civil society groups and NGOs for reaching out to the public to fight the virus and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.
He further said that the Union Government was committed to support the UT administration and to fill in missing gaps, where required, to save lives and improve the health infrastructure.