Japan, UNDP join efforts to boost oxygen supply in India’s north-eastern region

As India continues to battle the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India have partnered to provide oxygen generation plants to the North-Eastern region of India.

According to a press release by the Embassy of Japan, the government of Japan and UNDP India have been jointly supporting the Indian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since June last year through the strengthening of health and social protection systems and reviving livelihoods to address the impact of the virus on the lives of the most vulnerable population.

The Embassy noted that one of the key challenges of the pandemic has been the acute shortage of medical oxygen.

“In light of the critical need 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 States of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura in the North Eastern Region of India,” the release stated.

The hospitals, with a capacity of approximately 1,300 beds in total, have been identified in the region for these oxygen generation plants, the Embassy said, adding that excess oxygen will be distributed among other health facilities in the vicinity of the hospitals.

“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 UNDP to provide vital oxygen generation plants for the people of India’s North East. India’s North East occupies a special place for Japan-India relations and I sincerely hope that the Oxygen generation plants will help those people in need in the North Eastern Region of India,” said Japanese Ambassador to India, Satoshi Suzuki.

Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India thanked the people of Japan for this critical support that will allow UNDP 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. UNDP urgently needs additional support to ensure that we reach the last mile to leave no one behind.”

The UNDP has also been supporting the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with digitisation of the supply chain of vaccines and tracking beneficiaries across states to ensure better access and coverage.

According to the release, the UNDP has helped build capacities of 820,500 frontline workersacross the country to support the ‘world’s largest vaccination drive’.

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

India is currently dealing with a devastating second COVID-19 wave that has swept through the nation, straining the country’s health infrastructure and overburdening frontline medical workers.

Several countries around the globe including UK, Russia, and the US have extended support as India continues to struggle with the increase in its health infrastructure needs caused by the rising COVID-19 infections.

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