Oxygen-dependent patients in nearly 30 hospitals of five taluks — Nippani, Chikodi, Athani, Raibag, and Hukkeri — of Belagavi district are hit as oxygen supply to these hospitals has been affected for the last one week.
Dealers supplying medical oxygen to these hospitals have been procuring it from Kolhapur Oxygen and Acetylene Pvt. Ltd. for the past five years. However, they are finding procurement difficult now following an order from the Kolhapur Deputy Commissioner in the last week of August asking manufacturers not to supply oxygen across the border as the demand is high there with the number of COVID-19 patients on the rise.
“Although we have an agreement with the company, supply has been hit for the last one week. Vehicles that had gone to collect the load from Kolhapur were stopped from moving out of the company’s godown on Tuesday. Our dealers are struggling to convince the authorities that oxygen supply cannot be suddenly stopped as patients’ lives will be at risk,” said N.A. Magadum, a doctor running a 50-bed COVID-19 hospital at Ankali in Chikodi taluk.
“Over 300 patients are on high-flow oxygen in nearly 30 hospitals in these taluks. We cannot even think of shifting our patients out of the taluk to other hospitals in Belagavi,” said another doctor from Athani.
He said of the daily demand of 150 jumbo cylinders in these taluks, barely 25% was being supplied in the last one week. “We cannot blame the company as it has to follow the State authorities’ order,” he said.
The doctors, who have brought the issue to the notice to elected representatives from the district, are now worried how they will manage if they do not get the supply on Wednesday.
“Following our appeal, Ministers Laxman Savadi and Shashikala Annasaheb Jolle have intervened. They have also spoken to the Kolhapur authorities and have assured us of resolving the issue,” Dr. Magadum said.
Belagavi District Health Officer Shashikant Muniyal told The Hindu that the issue was being resolved. “We will ensure supply is not hit. We have spoken to other manufacturers and are making immediate alternative arrangements for supply from Karnataka Gases in Dharwad,” he said.