Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar informed Parliament that few states and Union Territories have responded to the Centre's requests to furnish details on COVID-19 mortalities due to oxygen shortage and none of them has reported confirmed deaths due to it.
The government maintains data of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported by states and union authorities. Accordingly, the Union Government has requested states and Union Territories to furnish details of suspected deaths due to oxygen shortage, Pawar said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. "Few states and UTs have responded and none of them has reported confirmed death due to oxygen shortage ", the minister said. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had on May 10, 2020, issued "Guidance for the appropriate recording of COVID-19 related deaths in India".
The Government of India is supporting states in their endeavour to enhance preparedness and response capacities against COVID-19.The health ministry, through a letter dated October 9, 2020, conveyed to states and union territories, WHO and ICMR guidelines on the correct recording of COVID-19 related deaths in accordance with the globally accepted ICD-10 classification and also urged them to undertake periodic death audits with an aim to improve the quality of Healthcare services by taking suitable corrective measures she said. States and union territories were also provided with a proforma for death audits in this regard, she added.
Pawar further said that health is a state subject. The Government of India is supporting states in their endeavour to enhance preparedness and response capacities against COVID-19. Various initiatives have been taken by the government to provide technical guidance and further strengthen health infrastructure, availability of essential logistics, including drugs and medical oxygen supply, to manage COVID-19. "More than 180guidelines/advisories/SOP'S/ plans have been issued to states and UTs by Ministry of Health.
This includes technical guidance on issues ranging from surveillance and containment of COVID-19 travel advisories clinical management protocols for managing COVID-19 cases in adults and children, management of mucormycosis, rational use of oxygen, SOP'S for safe resumption of activities in workplaces, markets, religious places etc", Pawar said. In order to address the surge in demand for oxygen, the central government had supported states in terms of increasing the availability, streamlining the distribution and strengthening the oxygen storage infrastructure in the country, she said.