NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday declared that the full onus of spending the funds under the Emergency Covid Response Package rested with the states.
The Centre announced this while reviewing the preparedness status of the crucial oxygen infrastructure including PSA Plants, oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders and ventilators with states.
Underlining the challenge posed by the increasing number of Covid cases across the country, with a focus on Omicron, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan emphasized that it is the primary and critical responsibility of states to ensure all oxygen equipment, till the field level at all health facilities is tested and kept in a functional state to meet any emergent situation.
States were urged to ensure full and optimal utilization of the ECRP-II funds, through daily reviews, and to upload the expenditure on the dedicated National Health Mission portal so that they are eligible for release of further funds in order to strengthen the healthcare facilities till the sub-district levels.
The government statistics show that of Rs 6,075 crore released by the Centre under the ERCP-II so far, only 1679 crore or just about 27 % have been spent by the states. It also shows that among the large states, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are the worst performers.
The scheme is aimed to prevent, detect and respond to the continuing threat posed by Covid-19 and strengthen national health systems for emergency response and preparedness.
In the Friday meeting, Bhushan also urged the concerned states to commission PSA plants being set up under the state’s own funds and CSR funds on a war-footing through daily reviews. States were requested to also ensure that mock drills of the PSA plants are carried out to ensure that oxygen flow at the patient bedside adheres to adequate purity, recommended outlet pressure with no leakages. In addition, flowmeters must be tested and remain in a functional state.
States were exhorted to also monitor the installation of PSA plants in private hospital facilities and medical college hospitals.
The Centre has highlighted that states need to ensure that the delivered ventilators are quickly installed and commissioned at the designated field health facilities.
“They were urged to address the large gaps that continue to exist between delivered and installed ventilators, provide consignee details of hospitals for the requirement of additional ventilators and expedite the issuing of final acceptance certificates for installed ventilators,” said the Union health ministry in a statement.