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The Karnataka government on Saturday decided to utilise the funds under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund for purchase of oxygen tankers, oxygen concentrators, pulse-oximeters and other emergency medical needs, to fight COVID. The decision was taken in the meeting presided by Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani with senior officials, his office said in a statement.

The Minister has now allowed authorities to use the DMF funds to procure oxygen tankers and other medical equipment needed urgently to treat COVID-19 patients, it said. “The state government will leave no stone unturned in the fight against the pandemic,” Nirani was quoted as saying.

As per the decisions taken in the meeting, authorities will procure 10 cryogenic oxygen tankers and two tankers will be provided to each four revenue divisions in the state, and two oxygen tankers will be sent to the coastal region. The Regional Commissioners will be given the power to manage and monitor the movements of these oxygen tankers in their jurisdictional areas.

Stating that it was also decided to set up oxygen generation plants at ten district hospitals to ensure smooth supply of oxygen to patients, the release said, two each in four revenue divisions and two hospitals will be chosen in the coastal region. A committee in the Mines and Geology department in consultation with the health department will identify the hospitals to set up oxygen generation plants, it added.

The Mines and Geology department will also procure 1000 oxygen concentrators and distribute them to all the districts. In an effort to help the patients in rural areas who lack modern health facilities, it has been decided to procure a large number of pulse-oximeters so that the patients can regularly check oxygen saturation level and take necessary steps accordingly, the release said.

The pulse-oximeters will be given to health committees at Gram Panchayat level. At the meeting, it was also decided to set up a nursing college at Hatti Gold Mines camp site hospital.

This will help address shortage and provide placements to nurses and paramedics at hospitals in Raichur district, it said, adding that apart from this an exclusive oxygen generator plant will be installed at this hospital..

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