Medical Oxygen Cylinders

Kenyans hoard oxygen cylinders, starve hospitals of gas for COVID-19 treatment

*Report indicates that about 60 percent of medical oxygen cylinders in the country are not circulating amid surge in medical oxygen demand to treat COVID-19 patients, but authorities are appealing to individuals and companies to return cylinders to manufacturers so they can refill for hospitals to use

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Kenyan hospitals are running out of oxygen as the number of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients surge and individuals, companies are holding onto cylinders that would normally be available to health facilities for treatment.

Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in a televised briefing Monday, March 29 disclosed that the demand for oxygen has more than doubled to 880 tonnes a month from 410 tonnes before the Coronavirus pandemic struck.

The East African country has 50,000 medical oxygen cylinders, but only 60 percent of them are in circulation, said Marion Gathoga-Mwangi, Managing Director of BOC Gases Limited.

Kagwe stated: “This demand has come up with other challenges, namely efficiency in distribution of oxygen gas cylinders brought about by hoarding of cylinders.

“I wish to make an appeal to those holding cylinders, be they hospital facilities or individuals in other sectors, please return those cylinders to manufacturers so they can refill and use them in hospitals that need them.”

According to BOC Gases Chief, she said many of the cylinders, colour-coded black and white for medical use, could be lying in hospital storerooms, or may have been converted for industrial use such as welding.

The cost of importing a medical cylinder is 80,000 shillings ($730), Gathoga-Mwangi said by phone Tuesday, March 30, Bloomberg report stated.

Public health facilities in Kenya have only 16 percent of the gas they need, Kagwe said. While the state has 73 oxygen plants across the country, some of the facilities are producing gas with concentration levels with a “significant variation” from the government’s own standards, disclosed the Health Secretary.

Kindly Share This Story