Ministry of Health forms an 'Oxygen Task force'  - Mutahi Kagwe photo
Ministry of Health forms an 'Oxygen Task force'  -  CS Mutahi Kagwe

The Ministry of Health forms an 'Oxygen Task force' dealing with gas cylinder shortage amid COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force is operating on a master plan as well as evaluating the infrastructure and economies of scale per hospital to address the situation.

They identified issues of service, maintenance and operations and pipping as a requirement.

"...which we are currently working on to address with partners such as the World Bank and the French Government," the ministry said.

"All suppliers are working hard to address the shortage and ensure that the oxygen is available ."

The ministry placed measures to guarantee a steady supply of oxygen in hospitals amid fears of low supplies and increasing demand.

According to the Health Ministry, the entire production was about 410 tonnes as recorded last year.

But with the rising cases of critical care patients in need of oxygen in the country, that has quickly gone up to about 560 tonnes in January now at 880 tonnes.

"The oxygen demand is high because of the Covid-19, but we are working with partners and suppliers to finish the state," the ministry said.

Ministry of Health calls on individuals holding cylinders at home, those idle in health facilities and other institutions to release them as oxygen demand is critical, to allow for a refill.

It is estimated that more than 20,000 cylinders are lying idle in various hands in the country.

The centre is now on both county and national health facilities to ensure they have piped oxygen to the bed sites.

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