The coronavirus pandemic prompted many to buy oxygen cylinders from the market, triggered its cost manifold.
The price of a medium quality oxygen cylinder and necessary equipment has skyrocketed to Tk 26,000, from Tk 6,000, market sources said.
Linde Bangladesh Limited, a member of Linde Group, has been in the gases business, including bottled oxygen, in Bangladesh for over 50 years. Other local companies, including Islam Group and Meghna Group, have also entered the import-based industry in recent times.
More than one hundred online companies have been providing nursing services over the last two months due to the outbreak of COVID-19. All of them are facing an oxygen cylinder shortage, said top officials of companies.
A manager of an online oxygen supplying company said his company is inundated with phone calls from people seeking oxygen cylinders. But for the last five days, the firm has been unable to sell or rent out any oxygen cylinders, which have either been sold or booked already.
It is better to keep COVID-19 patients at home, as the hospitals are overwhelmed with increasing numbers of patients, a physician of the National Institute of Neuroscience said.
The new system of buying or renting oxygen cylinders for patients suffering from respiratory trouble could save many lives, he told.
A patient needs oxygen supplied to them when the oxygen level in the body drops below 90 percent. A simple device called pulse oximeter can detect the oxygen level in the body. It can be managed if oxygen is supplied to the patient at home as long as the oxygen level remains around 80 percent. But a patient needs to be put on life support at a hospital if it drops below that level.