National, Front Page

Oxygen a need of the hour


Published : 30 Jul 2021 09:25 PM | Updated : 31 Jul 2021 01:16 AM

Oxygen is much more important than any essential drug when a patient lying on a hospital bed is struggling with corona virus attack. The question of vaccination does not arise when a patient is lying on a bed. The country is almost engulfed with the second wave of corona virus and at present oxygen is the thing most essential for hospitals to save the lives of patients. And the most precious oxygen is being transported to Bangladesh from India on an emergency basis at this critical hour of our crying need. 

The acute scarcity of oxygen has made people scared and people are dying at an alarming rate. So, the supply of oxygen is really indispensable. And India has started supplying oxygen from the humanitarian point of view as they are our friend in need. 

It may be recalled that India first came forward to sign an agreement for providing Oxford made AstraZeneca vaccine and accordingly the vaccination started in January, 2021; that means Bangladesh, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, started vaccination much earlier than many developed nations did in the world. Though the supply chain was disrupted due to the shortage of vaccine availability, India is trying her best to go for mass production. 

Producing vaccine for the corona virus is a new venture, no doubt, and any new venture must face quite some constraints but we understand that the moment vaccine production is increased, the Indian part would not delay to make the supply chain faster. Considering the seriousness of the present situation it has started supplying oxygen which is a crying need of the hour for our hospitals throughout the country at the moment.

When Corona virus spread as pandemic across the whole world, India also extended their helping hand to Bangladesh.  

Bangladesh, a country of more than 160 million people, in November, 2020 signed a preliminary agreement to buy 30 million doses of the shot from Serum at $4 a dose.

The government signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bangladesh's Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. was to collect three crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Serum.

Pune-based Serum had an agreement with AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, being developed by Oxford University. 

It was mentioned in the deal that once the vaccine is approved for human application, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Co will buy each dose from Serum for $4 and then supply it to the government for $5.

The three crore doses will be delivered in phases with a tranche of 50 lakh doses every month, according to the agreement.

The MoU was signed at the health ministry's conference room in the capital, in presence of Health Minister Zahid Maleque and Indian High Commissioner Vikram K Doraiswami.

As per an agreement signed in December, the Bangladesh government was supposed to get 50 lakh doses of Covishield from Serum every month. But Bangladesh received only 70 lakh doses in two instalments and another 32 lakh doses as a gift from the Indian government. 

But when the Coronavirus pandemic spread across the whole of India, the Modi government was compelled to suspend vaccine export to other countries including Bangladesh. Because the BJP government was facing severe crisis as daily death toll from coronavirus was rising i.e. over 4000 persons per day in India.

Then the Serum Institute suspended the agreement as the Indian government stressed jabbing to save lives of its people. Yet the Modi government gave assurance for resuming supply very soon. Besides, the Serum Institute could not meet the country’s vaccine demand due to low production for want of raw materials. At last, the United States was agreed to export raw materials for producing vaccine.

On the other hand, Bangladesh is facing a new crisis of medical oxygen. A large number of corona patients are dying every day due to respiratory problem. In this situation, medical oxygen is the prime need of the patients in our country.

At this time of our national crisis the Modi government of India extended its helping hand to save the life of corona patients.

To meet the growing demand due to the rising Covid-19 cases, Linde Bangladesh on Saturday last imported 200 tons of medical oxygen from India.

The company said it will continue the import of medical oxygen by train to supplement its local supply with active assistance from Linde India and the governments of India and Bangladesh.

This is one of several initiatives that Linde Bangladesh has embarked on to help support the fight against the current Covid-19 crisis, including the Medical Oxygen Booths inaugurated at Khulna Medical College Hospital earlier this week, it said.

The medical oxygen supply was sourced from Linde India plants in India and will be distributed to the Covid-19 dedicated hospitals nationwide.

This first-of-its-kind initiative saw 10 ISO tankers being transported on the Oxygen Express from Jamshedpur, India and arrived at Bangabandhu West railway station via Benapole.

Bangladesh has also received 180 tons of liquefied medical oxygen from India carried by 11 tankers, which were provided a green corridor on an emergency basis.

The development took place amid southern Bangladesh’s struggle to ensure oxygen supply for the hospitalised Covid-19 patients and they suspected that, with the health authorities warning that the rising trend of Covid patients in the hospitals, could lead to a crisis of medical oxygen.

We should not forget the situation that India has passed just a month ago when the second wave of corona virus had almost crippled the country. Thousands of people died of corona.  The whole world became scared at the situation prevailing in India. All the main news media of the world gave extra attention to that situation in India at that time. And obviously the production system might have disrupted due to that deplorable condition. 

Now the condition is much better and the production has reportedly started and the supply of vaccine should start soon. There is nothing to be worried about. We should always remember that our neighborly country India is the real and tested friend of Bangladesh. It has been proved several times. When the Pakistan occupation forces swooped on the innocent Bangalee nation on the Black night of 25th March, 1971 the then Indian Congress government headed by Mrs Indira Gandhi came forward to the help of the Bengalees of the then East Pakistan. 

Indira Gandhi travelled across the whole world and she kept on talking to the world leaders and finally she had convinced them to support the Bengalees’ War of Liberation. Even some super powers did not support our liberation war against the Pakistan occupation forces, rather they lent their support to the Pakistanis.

India also gave shelter to the Bengalee refugees who crossed the border to save their lives from the persecution of Pak army and was successful to realize the support from some European countries who later supplied financial aid and other assistance to the Bengalee refugees. After a nine-month -long guerilla war Bangladesh came into being with full support of Indian military and the Pak Army was compelled to surrender.

Anyway, we still recall the help, cooperation and contributions of India during the recent times.