The Government needs to invest more in medical Oxygen production plants across the country to solve the existing shortage as the country fights Covid-19, medical experts say.
This comes at a time when the Ministry of Health reports that as of June 20, there were 99 patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in need of critical care and life support.
Of the patients in ICU, 32 are on ventilator support, 50 on supplemental oxygen as 17 others are under observation.
Jackline Kiarie, a Preparedness Response manager at AMREF attributes the countrywide oxygen shortage to failure to classify the gas as an essential medical commodity.
She adds Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the dire situation of a struggling health sector in the country adding that oxygen plants are the most reliable source of gas.
“The Government needs to invest more in oxygen production and supply, cylinders and train health workers in line with the same,” Ms Kiarie told KTN News this morning.
According to her, the country’s monthly oxygen demand before the pandemic was 410 tonnes which she says has doubled to 880 tonnes after the pandemic struck.
She has attributed the oxygen shortage to a lack of prioritising the life-supporting gas, inadequate resourcing and the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic.
Ms Kiarie suggests the government should ensure equitable distribution of the 41 Oxygen distribution plants across the country.
In April 2021, health services at Kenyatta National Hospital were slowed down following a severe acute shortage of medical oxygen and patients sent home.
The hospital attributed this to a surge of Covid-19 patients in need of care and cancelled elective surgeries as a result of a shortage of oxygen gas.
“…discharge all elective awaiting surgery till the situation normalises,” a section of the internal memo from the facility reads.