Scotland is sending life-saving oxygen and ventilation equipment to India as part of a UK-wide effort to support it in its fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).
Following an initial offer of various types of equipment, the Indian High Commission has accepted 100 oxygen concentrators and 40 continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilators.
The Indian Government urgently requires these units as its healthcare system is under extreme pressure. The devices can be used in hospitals, ICU wards or other locations and are ideally suited to treat COVID-19 patients when there are constraints on medical gas infrastructure supply.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“The coronavirus situation in India is a human tragedy. We are working with the other UK nations to help tackle the crisis by providing equipment that can be used immediately to save lives.
“Solidarity with other countries remains of key importance throughout this global pandemic and we will continue to make contributions within the international community, while tackling COVID-19 here in Scotland.
“There are a number of ways to donate to the response effort, including the British Asian Trust’s ‘Oxygen for India’ Emergency Appeal, and the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has extended its Coronavirus Appeal to include India.”
The assistance package comes from surplus stocks across the UK nations based on the needs identified by the Indian Government. The operation is being funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
Logistics company Menzies has agreed to transport the concentrators from Scotland to London free of charge.
Oxygen concentrators are machines that take in room air (made up of oxygen, nitrogen and a small amount of carbon dioxide). It removes the nitrogen from the air by passing it through special filters to create oxygen that can be delivered to patients through tubing.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a type of non-invasive ventilation that keeps the airways open and aids oxygenation. It is simpler to use with patients as it uses a mask to ventilate as opposed to ICU invasive ventilation where the patient has a tube inserted into their airways which is then connected to a ICU ventilator.