Iloilo City pleads for medical oxygen

Iloilo City pleads for medical oxygen

ILOILO CITY – Iloilo City is seeking the help of the national government as supplies of medical-grade oxygen in hospitals are “fast depleting”.

Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, in his letter dated Sept. 17 addressed to Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Health Secretary Francisco Duque, National Task Force Chief Delfin Lorenzana, and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, said the daily average consumption of oxygen in the city is 657 cylinder tanks and maximum of 973.

One severe patient on high flow oxygen consumes an average of three tanks every 24 hours, he added.

“The local supplier of Iloilo City hospitals informed the Iloilo City Covid team that 35 liters of liquid oxygen are needed to fill in one oxygen tank,” he said.

He added that one supplier in Western Visayas has pre-supposed that if no supply of liquid oxygen is provided in the next two days, then the city will no longer have available resources.

“We do not dare fathom the terrible outcome if oxygen supply is depleted. While we resorted to purchasing the previous supply of liquid oxygen, we are candid that your most sought assistance for the additional supply of liquid oxygen turns out to be our only hope this time,” he added.

On Friday morning, the Western Visayas Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RTF 6) and the Regional Task Force on Covid-19 met with the local government units (LGUs) and tackled the oxygen shortage in the region and actions to be taken.

RTF 6 spokesperson Cindy Ferrer said three major concerns will be endorsed to the office of Secretary Lorenzana through Civil Defense Administrator Ricardo Jalad for appropriate actions.

These included the request to directly transport raw materials needed for the oxygen and other supplies from Luzon to Western Visayas to shorten travel time, guidance for the use of alternative tanks due to shortage of oxygen cylinders, and assistance to fast-track the licensing of two hospital-based oxygen-generating plants from the Food and Drug Administration.

Aside from proposed actions to be taken, “(the regional) DOH (Department of Health) will have a weekly survey on hospital supply and consumption since one concern of our suppliers is that they lack information if what hospital will be prioritized in terms of delivery and provision of supply,” she added.

The region has 10 suppliers of medical oxygen: four are based in Iloilo province, three in Bacolod City, two in Negros Occidental, and one in Iloilo City. (PNA)

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