Darjeeling is all set to have its first oxygen cylinder bank that will help patients in need of it

The initiative, which has been taken by Vik Run Foundation in association with Yuma hospital, will be under their project ‘O2 Darjeeling’ and will be free of cost. Project O2 Darjeelijng is started by Vik Run foundation in collaboration with Yuma Hospital in which  oxygen cylinder bank will be established and will be given to patients who are in need of it

Darjeeling is all set to have its first oxygen cylinder bank that will help patients in need of it

The exponential surge in India's coronavirus infections over the past few weeks has swamped the health care system, seen patients dying in ambulances and parking lots outside hospitals and overwhelmed crematoriums.

It has also drained supplies of medical oxygen, which is vital for those who have been infected. The dire shortage has turned out to be a major challenge facing hospitals in many states across the country. Dozens of hospitals in a number of Indian cities and towns have run short of the gas, sending relatives of patients scrambling for oxygen cylinders, sometimes in vain.

As part of its fight against the Covid pandemic, Darjeeling is all set to have its first oxygen cylinder bank that will help patients in need of it.

The initiative, which has been taken by Vik Run Foundation in association with Yuma hospital, will be under their project ‘O2 Darjeeling’ and will be free of cost. Project O2 Darjeelijng is started by Vik Run foundation in collaboration with Yuma Hospital in which  oxygen cylinder bank will be established and will be given to patients who are in need of it

“We have received a lot from this place and the time has come for us to give back what we owe to Darjeeling. The idea was floated to mitigate the acute shortage of oxygen cylinders here for home isolation patients and for those who are lodged at the Sursum Corda Covid Centre (SCCC),” said Vikrum Rai of VikRun Foundation, while maintaining that two of the cylinders were reserved for the SCCC.

“As of today, we are starting with 10 oxygen cylinders of B Type, 10 Litre with Gas Capacity of 19 Kg. If required, the number of cylinders will be increased to 50,” he said, adding that the cylinders will be issued to the needy patients for a maximum of two days, after which they will have to be returned.

The hills presently have organisations like the Edward Foundation providing oxygen concentrators to those in need, along with political parties also doing the same.

Speaking about the project, Dr Dawa Tshering Bhutia of Yuma Nursing Home, said, “If you compare oxygen cylinders to oxygen concentrators, they both have their pros and cons. The concentrators run on electricity and can give up to 5litres of oxygen, but after 2 to 3 litres the purity level of the gas goes down, whereas an oxygen cylinder gives pure oxygen and after it finishes it needs to be refilled. Moreover, not everyone knows how to use an oxygen cylinder.”

 “For about 15 patients if we use an oxygen cylinder on and off, we require about 30 cylinders, after which they need to be refilled,” he said, also appealing to the people who have oxygen cylinders at home to donate them to the bank if they have no need of it or they could contact them for a refill.

VikRun Foundation plans to go to the oxygen plant twice a week to refill it. Mr Rai also said that donors have come forward to help them in the project. Those who are in dire need of oxygen can contact the numbers +916296-615722 and 86700 09335.

On the other hand, the foundation, along with Dr Milan Tamang, the Principal of Ramakrishna Siksha Parishad, have also joined hands to provide financial support for the education of children whose guardians have died due to Covid-19, with them also to provide such support to Covid victims who are going through the financial crisis. However, there are certain criteria and formalities that have to be fulfilled.

According to World Health Organization estimates, nearly 15 per cent of Covid-19 patients are required to have oxygen therapy.

In its first phase starting March 2020, the pandemic took almost ten months to infect more than ten million people in India. But in the second, the disease took just ten weeks to sicken more than 11 million in the country. Precisely, India added 10.2 million Covid-19 cases in around 296 days in 2020. And it took only 70 days for the pandemic to infect 11.5 million, or 12 per cent more, in only 70 days since March 1, 2021, available data show.

Mohammad Ameel, who heads PATH India’s Primary Health Care, Technology and Innovations section during his interview with India Today mentioned “ India is importing around 100 cryogenic containers to transport large quantities of liquid medical oxygen. The Union government has said one lakh portable oxygen concentrators would be procured. These are some fire fighting short-term measures that could meet the immediate need,”

“The first oxygen allocation order issued on April 15, 2021, was restricted to a few states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, etc,” read a central government statement on May 10.

“As the second wave of pandemic spread to other states, demand for oxygen increased from other states. The formula of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was used to estimate oxygen requirement for each state in line with the active cases in the state, and maximum efforts were made to align oxygen allocation to the estimated demand for each state. Other factors such as availability of hospital infrastructure including ICU beds, were also taken into account while finalizing allocation,” the statement said.