UGANDA – Uganda has partnered with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to inaugurate a new oxygen production plant at the Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital to expand access to life-saving oxygen.
Earlier, UNICEF collaborated with Uganda’s Ministry of Health to boost oxygen supply in health facilities through procuring three oxygen production plants installed at the Soroti, Kabale and Masaka regional referral hospitals.
The Ministry of Health received a new Pressure Swing Absorption oxygen plant from the United Kingdom Government through UNICEF to boost medical grade oxygen producing capacity of the Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital.
The Pressure Swing Adsorption plant at the 200-bed facility will also produce medical grade oxygen from atmospheric air and fill oxygen cylinders that will be distributed to other lower-level facilities in seven neighboring districts in central Uganda.
It has the capacity to fill up to 140 cylinders daily to simultaneously sustain the hospital’s oxygen requirements as well as cater to other health facilities in neighboring districts including Buikwe, Jinja, Kayunga, Kamuli, Luwero, Mukono and Nakasongola.
The oxygen plant seeks to boost oxygen supply to address the oxygen scarcity in many referral hospitals at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which led to loss of lives of critically ill patients who depended on oxygen therapy daily to stay alive.
Consequently, it will provide life-saving care for COVID-19 patients in Uganda as well as improve emergency preparedness to support the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response.
The oxygen production plant will generate enough oxygen for the critical treatment of diseases affecting newborns, severe pneumonia and other life-threatening respiratory diseases common among children under five years, support mothers with delivery complications among other basic surgeries.
UNICEF is also currently installing an oxygen piping system to support distribution and continuous flow of oxygen to critical areas like the pediatric, neonatal, maternity, post-natal, medical wards and the operating theatre within Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital.
Moreover, UNICEF Uganda received over US$708,000 from the United Kingdom in 2021 for COVID-19 support including increasing oxygen production and delivery as well as improving the availability of Personal Protective Equipment at selected health facilities.
The funds were used to purchase one hundred 7,500-litre oxygen cylinders for Mulago National Referral Hospital, Namboole COVID-19 Treatment Centre, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and Moroto Regional Referral Hospital.
In addition, the health ministry used part of the funding to provide Personal Protective Equipment to Arua Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Moroto Regional Referral Hospital.