Deputy Minister commends PIH for donating K3.2 billion Oxygen Plant

Deputy Minister of Health Halima Alima Daud has commended Partners in Health (PIH) for donating an Oxygen Plant to Chikwawa District Hospital.

Speaking during the handover ceremony of the facility on Thursday, Daud said the donation will go a long way in providing quality medical oxygen to patients in the Lower Shire.

“It is my plea that other well-wishers will complement your efforts to provide service contract cover for the plant and help government to secure additional oxygen plants and other oxygen therapy technologies for hospitals which are not yet covered,” she said.

Daud added that it is important to take good care of the Oxygen Plant installed at the hospital, which was procured by PIH at the value of USD 1.16 million equivalent to approximately K3.2 billion.

In her remarks, PIH Executive Director Basimenye Nhlema said the oxygen plant was installed under the “Building Reliable Integrated & Next Generation O2 Services (BRING O2)” Grant.

“This project is made possible thanks to Unitaid’s funding and support. The organisation accelerates access to innovative health products and lays the foundations for their scale-up by countries and partners,” said Nhlema.

She added that PIH, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, started the project following the observed gap in access to medical oxygen supplies in health facilities.

“As indicated in the Malawi National Medical Oxygen Ecosystem Roadmap 2021–2026, the country needs an estimated supply of oxygen amounting to 115,156,050 litres (equivalent to 16,935 “J” cylinders) per month,” she said.

Nhlema added that it was impossible to meet the demand due to inadequate Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants, inability to maintain existing PSA plants, insufficient oxygen cylinders to capture and store oxygen, as well as a lack of distribution systems to reallocate supply.

“It is for this reason that PIH embarked on a journey to increase the oxygen delivery capacity and access across the country in 2021. This project mainly focused on six districts of Neno, Mwanza, Balaka, Chikwawa, Nsanje, and Nkhata-Bay to alleviate PSA plant supply and demand pressures but also strengthen oxygen equipment, delivery, and logistics,” said Nhlema.

The oxygen plant has been strategically installed in Chikwawa to serve the two districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa.

Initially, these two districts were accessing oxygen from Blantyre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and at a privately-owned Afrox center. Both Chikwawa and Nsanje would also go as far as Lisungwi to collect oxygen cylinders after its commissioning in 2021.

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