Embu County Deputy Governor David Kariuki tours the oxygen plant  at Embu hospital photo
Embu County Deputy Governor David Kariuki tours the oxygen plant. FILE

Kenya battles for a part of the Sh160 billion ($1.6 billion) the World Health Organization is raising to finance oxygen in poor countries for Covid-19 patients.

The WHO said Sh9 billion ($90 million) is required quickly to 20 countries, such as Malawi, Nigeria and Afghanistan, facing severe shortages of medical oxygen.

At least Sh 2 billion ($20 million) of this has already been raised through contributions by Unitaid and UK-based charity Wellcome.

The first beneficiaries were identified by the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

“The overall funding need over the next 12 months is estimated by ACT-A to be $1.6 billion (Sh160 billion),” WHO said in a statement.

The Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a global collaboration launched last year to improve access to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said on Monday Kenya is also facing a critical shortage of medical oxygen.

Kagwe on Monday said Kenya now 880 tonnes of medical oxygen, up from 410 tonnes last year.

“The condition at the moment is such that the industry is quite stretched,” he said.

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