Ensuring access to medical oxygen would save more lives from hypoxemia, experts said Wednesday. "Around 21 percent of the air around us is oxygen, and we only require 19.5 percent oxygen in the air we breathe. However, that is not the case for those with less oxygen in their blood – a health condition known as hypoxemia," they added. Around the world, 73 million people suffer from hypoxemia each year, of which 32 million are children. In Bangladesh, about 42 percent of the children who visit the secondary hospital with pneumonia suffer from hypoxemia. The experts were speaking at an evidence-sharing session organised by the Icddr,b and Data for Impact (D4I), an initiative of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in Dhaka to mark World Pneumonia Day 2022 and discuss the importance of medical oxygen security. The session focused on the overall availability of oxygen therapy in Bangladesh, along with low-cost innovations that can supplement health systems and address medical oxygen security. Read: Newborn twins die due to lack of oxygen at private clinic in Chattogram Dr Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman, associate scientist at the Maternal and Child Health Division at icddr,b, said anyone suffering from hypoxemia requires oxygen as a medical therapy. Hypoxemia can happen due to a range of medical conditions, largely due to respiratory distress caused by pneumonia, malaria, sepsis, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and asthma, among others. According to the Bangladesh Health Facility Survey 2017, less than one-fourth of health facilities have any of the three oxygen systems – compressed gas systems, portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) or liquid oxygen systems. Among these, an oxygen concentrator was available in 13 percent of facilities, while only 21 percent of facilities had filled an oxygen cylinder with flow metre. Only 6 percent of facilities had an oxygen distribution system and pulse oximetre. Another icddr,b-led study conducted in April-May 2020 revealed that out of 60 district hospitals in Bangladesh, 72 percent had pulse oximetry devices, and only 7 percent had the provision to perform arterial blood gas analysis. Read: 2 liquid oxygen plants to be established: Health Minister In the case of other sources to provide oxygen security, 18 percent had oxygen concentrators, 2 percent had liquid oxygen in bulk storage tanks, and 3 percent had an on-site oxygen plant. Central and sub-central piping was available in only 17 percent of district hospitals, and only 20 percent had flow-splitters available on the day of the visit. One-fourth of the district hospitals had the provision to provide low-flow oxygen therapy with non-invasive ventilation, whereas only 7 percent could provide basic oxygen therapy with both non-invasive and invasive ventilation. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic-induced extraordinary demand for oxygen supply, the situation may have improved in these hospitals. The meeting ended with the announcement that Bangladesh will co-chair The Lancet Global Health Commission on medical oxygen security in 2024. It is expected that this commission will shed light on the burden of hypoxemia, how to define and measure oxygen access, which oxygen solutions work best in different settings, and how to generate the financing and political will to achieve transformational change. Read: Another Indian Oxygen Express arrives with 200 MT of medical oxygen
Indian Railways’ fifteenth Oxygen Express arrived in Bangladesh carrying 200 MT of liquid medical oxygen on Wednesday. The special train set out from India through the Petrapole port carrying 10 containers of liquid oxygen and reached Bangladesh in the afternoon, said Benapole immigration authority. After customs formalities the train set out for Sirajganj west side of Bangabandhu Railway Bridge where the container will be unloaded, said Saiduzzaman, Benapole Railway station master. Benapole port Deputy Director A. Jalil said the oxygen crisis in India’s medical sector began in April when the country’s Covid situation got critical. As a result on 21 April the Indian government stopped exporting oxygen to Bangladesh. Read: India's fourth Oxygen Express arrives with 200 MT of medical oxygen Later, as the infection and death rate in their country decreased, they allowed the export of oxygen to Bangladesh from June 21. So far, in 15 consignments, the importer company Linde Bangladesh has brought in 3,017 MT of liquid oxygen, port authorities said. Bangladesh is the first foreign country where the Oxygen Express has been put into operation to deliver the life-saving gas amid rising Covid infections.
The whole world is in turmoil and humankind is endangered due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our neighboring countries are already in terrible condition due to the second wave while other parts of the world are also facing a critical situation. This time the new coronavirus is infecting the lungs badly. Once infected, the patient's shortness of breath increases. So urgent oxygen becomes necessary to save lives and liquid medical oxygen comes as a lifesaver. Here we have discussed some essential facts about liquid medical oxygen, its production procedure and application in COVID-19 treatment. What is Liquid Medical Oxygen? How is it different from Industrial Oxygen? Liquid Medical Oxygen is highly pure oxygen that is usually used for medical purposes only. It is specially produced for the human body. Because of its low melting and boiling points, it remains in a gaseous state even at room temperature. However, liquification gives an easy transportation solution and lets you store in larger volumes. On the other hand, industrial oxygen is used for industrial settings such as combustion, oxidation, manufacturing plants, and more. Furthermore, industrial oxygen can accelerate some chemical reactions too. The steelmaking industry is one of the biggest users of industrial oxygen. However, this kind of oxygen is not intended for the human body. Read COVID-19 Delta variant explained: Things to know about this Coronavirus strain The biggest difference between medical and industrial oxygen is that industrial oxygen is not safe to inhale. It is because the purity level is not up to the mark and it may contain contaminants from the tanks. On the other hand, medical oxygen tanks are different. While medical oxygen is solely used for the medical purpose only, industrial oxygen has multiple uses such as: - Manufacturing the metal items, for instance, steel production. - Cutting, welding, flame cleaning, etc. - It can also use as a bleaching chemical that helps to create paper and paper-based items. - Assist to create certain fuel Read Why Shouldn’t You Store Oxygen Cylinder at Home During COVID-19 Pandemic? Oxygen is necessary for human breathing to function the body properly. If the respiratory is not taking the oxygens properly, medical intervention is needed. Medical oxygen comes in handy to maintain a good blood oxygen level, otherwise, it can create serious health consequences, even lead to death. So a proper amount of medical oxygen is essential or else the imbalanced medical oxygen can lead to toxicity. While medical oxygen is regulated properly to ensure high purity, industrial oxygen doesn’t care about purity. As a result, industrial oxygen may contain irregular items and harmful contaminants. Therefore, industrial oxygen is not perfect to use for medical purposes. How is Liquid Medical Oxygen produced? Liquid Medical Oxygen has different production methods. The most common production method is the air separation unit or the ASU method. There are also fractional distillation methods, in which the gases obtained from the atmosphere are separated into different components after cooling in the liquid state and then liquid oxygen is extracted from there. Cryogenic Methods Cryogenic is a method of producing medical oxygen at very low temperatures. It is a type of liquid that has a normal boiling point level below -90 degrees Celsius is called a cryogenic liquid. There is a special type of container to store this kind of liquid. Cryogenic liquid containers are specially designed to be transported safely and at a very low cost. It is stored as liquid gas even at cryogenic temperatures below -90 C. These containers are made in such a way that liquid gas can be stored at very low temperatures. Read Linde Bangladesh to continue medical oxygen import from India Pressure Swing Absorption Technology It is a non-cryogenic oxygen production method. Oxygen can be produced in this way by applying a certain amount of high pressure. Hospitals can produce oxygen using this method. The pressure swing method works under high pressure via a vessel that contains an adsorbent bed of ‘zeolite’ which eventually attracts the nitrogen more strongly than the oxygen. The nitrogen will stay in the bed and the gas leaving the vessel will be filled with oxygen. Further, this will reduce the cost of transporting oxygen to hospitals. Read India's Oxygen Express arrives in Bangladesh In addition to these sources of medical oxygen, there are also portable oxygen generators known as oxygen concentrators, which can be used at home.
All necessary initiatives have been taken to install a dedicated medical oxygen generation plant at Chandpur General Hospital to meet the increasing demand for life-saving gas amid Covid-19 surge across the district. The plant, funded by UNICEF, will have the capacity to supply 20 lakh millilitre of oxygen. The project will be implemented by Spectra International, under the direct supervision of the Health Ministry. Read Indian capital gasps for oxygen - United News of Bangladesh Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni is also providing her assistance and guidance implementing the project, hospital Supervisor Dr Md Habib Ul Karim told UNB. "At present, we have to bring oxygen cylinders from Cumilla as per the demand. Access time and money is spent in the process. This plant will meet the current demand in the district as well as will keep a reserve for 5/6 months,” said the hospital super. UNICEF in association with Spectra International will install oxygen plants in 25 districts across the country, he added. Read Liquid oxygen import from India suspended at Benapole
A crisis over the supply of medical oxygen for coronavirus patients has struck nations in Africa and Latin America, where warnings went unheeded at the start of the pandemic and doctors say the shortage has led to unnecessary deaths.