Karnataka to buy 2 lakh pulse oximeters

Karnataka has decided to buy 2 lakh pulse oximeters for treating Covid patients, Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan said on Monday.

“We have decided to procure 2 lakh pulse oximeters, including 25,000 in the first phase, to overcome their shortage and supply them to state-run hospitals for treating Covid patients,” Narayan, who heads the state’s task force set up to contain the virus spread, told reporters here.

Warning of legal action against those taking advantage of shortages and selling medical oxygen, pulse oximeters and anti-viral drug Remdesivir at exorbitant prices, Narayan urged the public to file complaints against offenders at 112, the helpline number the state government has set up for fighting Covid.

“Medical devices and drugs for treating Covid should not be sold above the MRP (maximum retail price). The offenders will be prosecuted. People should call up 112 and register a complaint against those selling anti-Covid medicines over and above their retail price,” he said.

He also directed the state health officials to upload in real-time data on availability of beds in private hospitals, oxygen, ventilators, Remdesivir for treating Covid patients on the state government’s Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) portal.

“The portal should show in real time how many beds are available in private hospitals, which have been directed to reserve 50 per cent of their capacity to treat Covid patients referred by the state Health Department,” said Narayan.

Admitting that the state healthcare system would not be able to deliver services efficiently without data from private hospitals integrated into the portal, he said the nodal officers should ensure compliance for optimal utilisation of resources, including beds, drugs and medical equipment.

The minister also instructed hospitals and diagnostic labs to submit results of rapid antigen detection and RT-PCR tests within 24 hours of collecting the samples.

“Hospitals and labs which delay in giving the test results beyond 24 hours will be fined Rs 150 per case,” he warned.