Kenya’s Metropolitan Hospital sets up new oxygen unit to meet high demand

KENYA – The Metropolitan Hospital, one of the leading hospitals in Kenya, has put up an oxygen unit that has capacity to produce about 600 litres of oxygen gas per minute.

According to the hospital CEO Kanyenje Gakombe, the plant will help them be self-sufficient rather than being dependent on suppliers.

The management at the hospital recounts of a period in which the supply of oxygen, which is commonly taken for granted, had dwindled to a low of only 6 hours of reserve, “a very, very worrying situation”.

Oxygen consists 21 percent of the atmosphere, but medical oxygen is required to have a purity level of 95 percent according to WHO regulations, a measure the new oxygen unit has put in place.

The 100 million shillings unit which has been set up on the rooftop of the private institution is equipped with modern technology that basically functions to separate oxygen from other atmospheric components.

Oxygen is required in its concentrated form for medical relief in patients with severe respiratory difficulties due to COVID-19.

A COVID patient requires up to 60 litres as compared to a maximum of 15 litres needed by a typical patient.

Since onset of the third wave of the pandemic, hospitals in the country have had an influx of covid  patients with about 300 in intensive care units and over 1500 hospitalized, and in need of oxygen supplementation.

This has resulted in rapid depletion of oxygen reserves in the country.

Consequently, hospitals as well as government have been on the run to increase  production and supply of medical oxygen to avert adverse effects as are being witnessed in countries hard hit by the pandemic.

In the resent past, oxygen cylinders have also become scarce, a situation that prompted the ministry of health in Kenya, in March, to make a public appeal for those hoarding oxygen cylinders to release them.

The hospital, in response, has put up a piping system to deliver the crucial gas into its rooms instead of using cylinders.

The availability of medical oxygen has become a challenge worldwide, with developing countries such as Congo being adversely affected.

In India, a country whose health system is trusted to offer better healthcare services both nationally and, in the continent, the system is on overrun with fatalities due to COVID rising by day. The ACDC has termed India’s situation as very worrying, a concern Mr. Gakombe also expressed seeing the position the local healthcare providers locally hold against India’s.

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