KENYA – African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref), through funding from the Global Fund, is set to set up a KSh3 billion (US$24.16m) oxygen ecosystem in Nandi county.
Programme Director in Amref supporting disease control and infection Dr. Bernard Langat said that the project involves oxygen in cylinders, liquid oxygen and infrastructure.
He said at the moment, they are going around introducing centres for construction adding that the major construction is piping.
“We are piping all 320 health facilities across the 45 Counties. We put the Pipes for oxygen outlets and money for them to distribute the oxygen that is in the cylinders,” he said.
Dr. Langat noted that they are also doing 14 liquid oxygen tanks across the 14 counties.
“We are also doing oxygen plugs mainly targeting remote places like Kapedo, Lamu and Chemolingot in Baringo County among other regions. We know it’s a bit challenging transporting oxygen in those areas that’s why we need them to be able to generate oxygen and fill some of the cylinders in their facilities,” Dr Langat said.
He highlighted that the biggest challenge in the country is the lack of cylinders adding that plans are underway to purchase 21,000 empty oxygen cylinders before March.
“At least each county will get a minimum of two cylinders but those counties with bigger populations will get more,” he said.
The Programme Director noted that the reason why the Global fund decided to support that sector is that it was a key concern.
“We remember during the Covid-19 outbreak, the biggest headache and cry the country had was lack of oxygen. The investment here is more of building a reservoir system,” he said.
“Any other time we have an epidemic, even maternal emergency, oxygen should not be a reason why we are losing a mother. They should be sufficiently available.”
Dr. Langat added that the investment is targeting both Government facilities and private health centres adding that they are not discriminating against any facility because even private institutions also take care of emergencies.
He said Amref also provide oxygen kits, splits, regulators, and flow meters saying though they are not enough, it’s one step to actualizing access to oxygen.
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang said the move will boost quality and affordable healthcare services in the Country.
The governor noted that oxygen is an essential medicine used to care for patients across all levels of the health care system.
Oxygen in Murang’a
Amref will install a 3,000 cubic metres oxygen-producing plant at Murang’a Level Five Hospital.
The KSh77 million (US$ ) project will also facilitate the establishment of oxygen installation at Muriranja, Kaharo, Kangema and Maragua hospitals, following a pact signed between Murang’a County Government and Amref through the support of Global Fund.
Head of AMREF Delegation Peter Waiganjo said the oxygen project is being implemented in 45 counties after Nairobi benefited during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Waiganjo held talks with Murang’a Deputy Governor Stephen Munania on how the project will be implemented within six months.
Currently, the Murang’a hospital depends on gas cylinders from Nairobi a distance of 90 kilometres.