In order to meet the increased demand for medical oxygen in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization (WHO) has generously sent 900 life-saving oxygen cylinders to the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS). These cylinders are equipped with regulators and humidifiers.
As was the case in a significant number of countries under low and medium-income categories all across the globe, the COVID-19 crisis revealed deficiencies in the oxygen manufacturing and supply capabilities of various health care systems.
The contribution, which was more than $200,000 (£160,000), consisted of cylinders that each had the capacity to contain 40 liters of oxygen, had a cost total of over $200,000, and maybe a significant action in the process of providing oxygen to hospitals throughout the country.
Dr. James Bunn, the Technical Head for the Management of cases at the WHO Country Office in Sierra Leone, made the following observation in regard to the delivery: “At the start of Covid-19, as we may remember, we were temporarily overrun with covid patients who needed oxygen, as did many other nations.”
However, it has been a delight to see the nation recognize and react to this need over the course of the last two years with the help of partners and donors.
Concerns over the availability of oxygen in low- and middle-income countries were brought on by pre-existing constraints as well as a diminished capacity to create the gas.
By agreeing to assist healthcare professionals in LMICs with the financing of $5 million (£3.7 million), organizations like Direct Relief have aimed to both enhance health equality and save lives across LMICs. Specifically, they have focused on acquiring vital medical oxygen equipment.
After having previously invested more than $15 million (£11 million) worth of related equipment, such as more than 35,000 oxygen concentrators, the organization has also funded the construction and repair of seven pressure-swing adsorptions (PSA) plants to generate medical-grade oxygen onsite at hospitals. PSA stands for pressure swing adsorption and is an abbreviation for pressure-swing adsorption plant.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Sierra Leone is now in the beginning stages of the process of putting up a long-term strategy for the management of the oxygen supply chain via a technical working group.
The Ministry of Health and Safety will be able to collect expertise on the most effective methods to distribute oxygen as a result of the strategy, including advice on cylinder distribution and other associated logistics.
Dr. Steven Shongwe, the WHO official stated that it was a huge undertaking, and the 900 oxygen cylinders which WHO provided were a critical part of a whole system approach in provisioning this lifesaving aid to patients, Dr. Shongwe further said that the lives of patients with Covid-19 were saved with the reliable provision of oxygen. The WHO contributes these oxygen cylinders free of cost to the Sierra Leone Government.
A ‘find & fix’ map initiative that was set up by Direct Relief and the Every Breath Counts Coalition (EBCC) supports oxygen provision across the globe by allowing users to assess the status of oxygen plants in their community, in addition to data surrounding the current oxygen needs of specific areas. This is done through a mapping platform that was developed by Direct Relief.
Studies suggested shockingly high levels of under-treatment of patients needing oxygen across Africa and Asia, according to Leith Greenslade, Coordinator of EBCC and Founder and CEO of JustActions, who spoke during gas worlds Medical Gases Summit 2022. Greenslade stated that “Studies suggested shockingly high levels of under-treatment of patients needing oxygen.”
Lack of oxygen is unquestionably one of the contributing factors that have contributed to pneumonia’s status as the preeminent infectious cause of death in Africa and Asia for such a significant portion of time.