KENYA – In recent weeks, Kenya has been experiencing acute Oxygen shortage across many healthcare facilities across the country. This has put the lives of patients with chronic health conditions and those in ICU in greater danger.  This highlights the crucial importance of access to medical oxygen for treatment.

Guided by its vision of providing quality healthcare services, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic, M.P. Shah Hospital today launched a 500-litre per minute plant set to manufacture its own oxygen plant.

This commissioning comes even after many hospitals in Kenya have experienced an acute shortage of oxygen due to the surging cases of Covid-19.

The Nairobi based hospital has so far treated over 700 Covid-19 patients and with the new plant, the hospital aims to come to the rescue of as many patients as would be, who need medical oxygen supplementation.

This is in addition to its existing hospital oxygen plant capacity. In April this year, the medical care giant launched an oxygen tank which has enabled the hospital support and manage patients in critical care.

Speaking during the launch, hospital CEO Toseef Din acknowledged the importance of oxygen in medical care. “20% of air that we take very much for granted becomes for some so precious that even a few breaths can make the difference between succumbing or heading on the path to health.”

Recently, Hewatele, a social enterprise that manufactures medical oxygen, announced plans to double its output in a bid to meet demand.

Hewatele intends to invest US$1.5 million US dollars in order to switch to an air separation unit that will produce liquid oxygen increasing production to 20 tons per day from the current capacity. The new oxygen quotas will be met by raising funds through international financiers.

Bernard Olayo, a physician and founder of Hewatele, says it won’t be easy as the pandemic has significantly increased the demand for oxygen and components essential for its production.

However, despite having three plants strategically set up to reduce the cost that is already over ten times more than most countries, Olaya said meeting demand seems beyond reach.

You see an increase from the demand of 40 bottles a day to as high as 200 bottles a day,” he said. “We have reached a point in Kenya where the demand for oxygen from our hospitals was higher than the total production capacity within the country.”

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