Centre to States: Maintain the supply of Medical Oxygen

The Central Government has asked the states to maintain the supply of medical oxygen smooth and hassle-free. Medical Oxygen included in national list of essential medicines and also in the WHO list of essential medicines.

What is medical Oxygen?

Medical Oxygen is pure oxygen. It contains 99.5% of pure oxygen. Generally, the air we breathe contains 21% of oxygen. When the impurities in the atmosphere increase, the concentration of oxygen decreases. For instance, an industrial unit emits Sulphur. A person standing near the unit breathes in air that is less concentrated with oxygen. This is because, oxygen in the air combines with the Sulphur released to form Sulphur di-oxide.

In cities where the pollution levels are high, atmospheric air does not provide enough oxygen to the patient. Oxygen is highly important for metabolic activities and fast healing. Therefore, medical oxygen is combined with normal air and given to patients.

List of Essential Medicines

The National List of Essential medicines is a model of WHO List of Essential Medicines. The essential medicines are those medicines that satisfy priority health needs of the population.

Tanzania was the first country in the world to compose a list of Essential Medicines in 1970. The WHO published essential medicines in 1977. According to WHO, the national list of essential medicines of a country depends on the country’s disease burden.

National List of Essential Medicines

The first NLEM of India was released in 1996. The list consisted of 279 medicines then. The list was revised to 354 in 2003. Later in 2011, the list was updated to 348 medicines. In 2018, the list was updated to 851 medicines. For the first time, cardiac stents, condoms, drug eluting stents and intra uterine devices were placed under NLEM in India.

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