Japan, UNDP join hands to boost O2 supply in northeast India

As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread virulently in India, the government of Japan and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have partnered to provide oxygen generation plants to northeastern states.

A statement issued by the UNDP India said that since June 2020, the Japanese government and the agency have been jointly supporting the Centre’s battle against the pandemic by strengthening health and social protection systems and reviving livelihoods of the most vulnerable population.

In the ongoing pandemic, which is overwhelming health systems across the country, one of the key challenges has been acute shortage of medical oxygen.

To ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply, the support from the people of Japan has enabled UNDP in procuring and installing eight Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants in the northeastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

The hospitals, with a capacity of approximately 1,300 beds, have been identified in the region for the oxygen generation plants.

Excess oxygen will be distributed among other health facilities in the hospitals’ vicinity.

The installation sites are being prepared so that the oxygen production can start at the earliest possible, the UNDP India said.

In addition, the UNDP has also been supporting the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with digitisation of supply chain of vaccines and tracking beneficiaries across states to ensure better access and coverage.

It has also helped build capacities of 820,500 frontline workers across the country to support the ‘world’s largest vaccination drive’, the statement said.

The government of Japan has also committed a sizable commitment of providing critical items to India, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

In a statement, Satoshi Suzuki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to India, said: “Japan stands with India, our friend and partner,in her efforts to fight against Covid-19 pandemic in this critical time. I am pleased that Japan is working with the UNDP to provide vital oxygen generation plants for the people of India’s northeast.

“The northeast occupies a special place for Japan-India relations and I sincerely hope that the oxygen generation plants will help those people in need.”

Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India, thanked the people of Japan for this critical support that will allow the agency to ensure uninterrupted flow of oxygen in hospitals and health centres in the region, especially those in hard-to-reach areas.

“The situation in India is devastating and the pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives. The UNDP urgently needs additional support to ensure that we reach the last mile to leave no one behind,” she said.