KENYA – Hewatele, an oxygen production firm, has secured a KSh1.32 billion (US$10 million) loan from the United States US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to step up the production of affordable supplies.

“A US$10 million loan to Hewa Tele Limited will help expand production and distribution of affordable liquid medical oxygen for hospitals and clinics across Kenya, lowering costs for healthcare providers in rural and urban areas,” the US government said in a statement.

Founded in September 2014 by Dr. Bernard Olayo, Hewatele runs oxygen plants in Siaya, Nakuru, Kisumu and Nairobi. The firm produces oxygen by the chemical method, using a naturally occurring salt to separate nitrogen from the air.

Its inaugural plant was launched in 2014 as a public-private-partnership (PPP) between GE Foundation, Hewatele, CPHD, and Siaya County. The plant currently serves over 10 Counties with oxygen and oxygen accessories.

The Nakuru plant is a partnership between Nakuru County and Hewatele with the support of Grand Challenges Canada while the Nairobi plant is also a PPP between Nairobi County, Hewatele, CPHD, UNICEF, and Grand Challenges Canada as the development partner.

“Oxygen is an essential medicine, and if you don’t get it, especially if you have a disease that compromises the function of the lungs for example pneumonia and most recently, COVID-19, you will end up with many people dying. Our goal is to contribute towards saving these lives through this technology,” Dr Olayo said during an interview with FW Africa on its sister publication CEO Business Africa (formerly Africa Inc).

Have a read on the interview on this link;

Kenya for a long time had only one such oxygen plant, which belongs to industrial gases firm BOC, said Olayo, who was inspired to produce oxygen for hospitals by his experience as a young government doctor in the west of the country two decades ago.

Hewatele, in 2021, said it was doubling production to keep up with surging demand from hospitals that are treating critically ill Covid-19 patients.

The decision came after the demand for the commodity more than doubled to 880 tonnes from 410 tonnes before the pandemic, causing a steep shortage due to lack of installed capacity.

The loan to Hewatele is among 17 new investment transactions approved for Africa by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) totalling more than US$655 million (KSh86.77 billion).

USAID’s Kenya Investment Mechanism provided financial advisory services to assist Hewa Tele in attracting this investment.

In 2021, Hewatele announced that it was doubling its production to keep up with surging demand from hospitals that are treating critically ill COVID-19 patients. The firm produces oxygen by the chemical method, using a naturally occurring salt to separate nitrogen from the air.

DFC has been actively investing in the healthcare system of Africa. Two years ago, it announced the first disbursement of a US$5 million direct loan to Africa Healthcare Network (AHN), the largest operator of dialysis centers in East Africa.

The project is part of DFC’s comprehensive COVID-19 Response through which the agency is mitigating the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and DFC’s Global Health and Prosperity Initiative, under which the agency is working to strengthen global health systems.

AHN is the largest and most expansive dialysis services provider in East Africa with 18 dialysis centers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda offering high-quality, affordable care.


Kenya Hospital Association secures grant from USTD for feasibility study

The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) said it has awarded Kenya Hospital Association (KHA) — which owns Nairobi Hospital —a grant for a feasibility study to expand and improve health services in Kenya.

“The study will support KHA’s intent to establish five medical centers across Kenya, digitise its operations, and expand cancer treatment services at The Nairobi Hospital,” the agency said without revealing the value of the grant and location of the targeted new centres.

KHA is a not-for-profit organisation that operates The Nairobi Hospital and six outpatient centers, serving over 96,000 patients a year.

USTDA said the feasibility study will provide KHA with a market assessment and design brief for five medical centers, recommendations for acquiring and installing new oncology equipment, and a technical analysis to upgrade and integrate existing information technology systems.

“Investment in healthcare infrastructure is crucial to ensuring Kenya’s prosperity. This is why USTDA embraces this opportunity to partner with the Kenya Hospital Association to increase access to high-quality healthcare for underserved Kenyans,” Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director said.

“Our engagement will also create opportunities for U.S. companies to offer world-class, state-of-the-art solutions for Kenya’s healthcare priorities.”

In November last year, USTDA awarded a grant to Fly Zipline Ghana, for a feasibility study to expand healthcare access in Ghana and Nigeria using unmanned aerial vehicles.

The study will facilitate Zipline’s goal of expanding its logistics services to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.

USTDA’s feasibility study will allow Zipline to assess the viability of expanding its healthcare logistics services into new geographic areas and developing new business models to build on its existing delivery systems.

In addition to healthcare sector benefits, Zipline’s project is anticipated to increase access to e-commerce, postal, and agricultural products and services in hard-to-reach areas, helping to stimulate local economies and reducing costs and time to access goods and services.

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