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Kenya in race to curb the acute shortage of oxygen

April 8, 2021

By Samuel Ouma

Last month Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe declared the shortage of oxygen in various hospitals across the country

Kenya has installed measures to ensure a steady supply of oxygen in its hospitals.

The country’s Ministry of Health Thursday announced the “Oxygen Task Force” formation to handle the gas cylinder shortage amid the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry noted it is working with partners and suppliers to address the acute shortage.

The Taskforce has identified service, maintenance, operation, and piping as the requirement, added the Ministry.

” All suppliers are working hard to address the shortage and ensure that the oxygen is available,” the Ministry said via a post on Twitter.

  Last month Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe declared the shortage of oxygen in various hospitals across the country as the number of Covid-19 patients increase.

According to Mutahi, the oxygen demand has more than doubled to 880 tons a month from 410 tons before the pandemic.

Kagwe pleaded with individuals, hospitals, and other institutions holding onto cylinders to release them immediately to avert the looming crisis.

“There are about 20,000 oxygen cylinders out there in homes and other institutions which are required back in the industry immediately. I appeal to all Kenyans to return oxygen cylinders immediately so that companies can use them to supply oxygen to hospitals,” said Kagwe noting that each cylinder costs roughly ksh40, 000 (About $400).

Kenya has 73 oxygen plants, but some of these plants face several challenges, including the Production of oxygen with lower than recommended concentration levels, said Kagwe.

Following the announcement, a steel manufacturing company, Devki Group, offered to give free oxygen to both private and public hospitals. Devki Group Chairman Narendra Raval said the hospitals are required to bring cylinders for exchange.

As of April 7, 236 patients were reported to be in the ICU, fifty-three of them being on ventilators and more than a hundred under supplementary oxygen.

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