Supreme Court sets up task force for oxygen allocation
The Supreme Court has constituted a 12-member National Task Force to streamline and ensure the “effective and transparent” allocation of liquid medical oxygen on a “scientific, rational and equitable basis” to the States and the Union Territories fighting COVID-19.
- The court had expressed its dissatisfaction at the Centre’s earlier “oxygen-for-bed” formula based on calculating the allotment of oxygen based on the number of ICU/non-ICU.
- Formula did not take into consideration the fact that many COVID-19 patients in dire need of oxygen do not get beds or were confined to home care..
The members of the Task Force include
- Experts drawn of renowned national experts with diverse experience in health institutions, educational experts, doctors.
- Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (ex officio member)
- The Convener of the National Task Force, who shall also be a member, will be the Cabinet Secretary to the Union Government.
- The Cabinet Secretary may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to depute for him, when necessary.
- The Task Force is to start work immediately and has an initial life-span of six months.
- To collaborate with Public health institutions, government facilities and private hospitals.
- It could form sub-groups of experts on a regional basis in the specialized areas of infectious disease modelling, critical care, clinical virology/immunology and epidemiology/public health.
- The Task Force would assess and recommend the availability and distribution of medical oxygen across the country, formulate a methodology for its equitable distribution, recommend ways to augment the oxygen supply based on present and projected demands, facilitate audits on whether supply is reaching its destination in States, efficacy of distribution networks, transparent distribution of available oxygen stocks, among others.
- It would provide the Centre with inputs and the formulation of scientific strategies.