Scenes of relatives desperately trying to find oxygen supplies for hospitalized COVID-19 patients in India last year, alerted the world to an acute, deadly problem. Yet that was not this first time the country’s hospitals have been hit by a shortage of the life-saving gas, prompting the question of whether there will be enough supplies, when the next major health crisis hits.
In May 2021, India’s hospitals were at breaking point. The country found itself at the epicentre of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the biggest challenges was providing enough medical oxygen for the sickest patients, unable to breathe unaided, as demand rose ten-fold.
By the end of April, there were just under 18 million confirmed cases, and over 200,000 deaths.
The experts found that, during the May 2021 crisis, the issue was not so much a shortage of medical oxygen, but rather the concentration of medical oxygen in eastern India, and the inability of the distribution network to ramp up to meet the ten-fold surge in demand. More