By Our Reporter
10th June 2021
The newly built medical oxygen plants in major regional referral hospitals are failing to address the increasing demand for the lifesaving commodity, which is a key in the management of chronic and acute cases.
In 2016, the Ministry of Health with support from partners began a phased construction of medical oxygen plants at regional referral hospitals with the aim of improving access to oxygen as well as providing supplies to the lower health facilities.
The plants were constructed at Masaka, Jinja, Entebbe, Mbale, Soroti and Fort portal Regional Referral hospitals among others.
However, the plants have failed to meet the demand for medical oxygen from health facilities, which leaves a deficiency in the supply of the lifesaving commodity.
Dr. Nathan Onyaki, the Director Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, says that their plant broke down recently after being overstretched because of the growing demand for oxygen especially with the upsurge in COVID-19 cases being admitted at their treatment facility.
The daily production capacity stands 16 cubic millimeters yet the demand stands at least 40 cylinders per day of Oxygen.
Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Director of Jinja Regional Referral Hospital also reveals that their oxygen plant can hardly meet the growing demand. She says that they have resorted to rationing the available stock the same applies to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary indicates that they are responding to the challenge by supporting the hospitals with additional supplies from Kampala.