A major milestone has been recorded at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) as it has started producing oxygen for itself and neighbouring hospitals to cater for the need of that chemical element for saving lives.
The production of oxygen at a factory within the hospital began last week, pending official launch of the plant.
The Hospital's Executive Director, Dr Sarah Urasa, disclosed to the media yesterday that the plant was operational and had a capacity of producing oxygen and fill a total of 400 cylinders per day.
The oxygen production project at the KCMC was implemented with a loan funding from the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF.
"This is part of initiatives to differentiate the hospital from others by making it an industry for producing medical equipment as well," Dr Urasa said when briefing journalists and a team of information officers from institutions under the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.
The information officers and journalists are on a tour to observe improvements at the KCMC during the leadership of President John Magufuli.
Dr Urasa noted that the decision to produce oxygen was very positive in terms of services to patients and saving money.
"Previously we spent at least 3m/-every week to buy oxygen from Arusha Region, which was too costly," she said, arguing that oxygen production had brought services closer to patients at the hospital.
The project further assures neighbouring hospitals of getting the oxygen and serve patients in need of oxygen instead of referring them to the KCMC for such service .
The KCMC serves as Northern Zone referral hospital, handling at least 1000 patients a day.
"In the future, we want to have infrastructures that would allow oxygen being transferred through pipes to wards, thus being spared the burden of carrying cylinders to wards," Dr Urasa told the reporters.
Apart from oxygen, the industry also produces nitrogen for medical purposes, including for preserving samples for laboratory tests and preserving male sperm for reproduction for couples with infertility problems.
She however said the service of preserving sperms was not yet introduced, but was expected to start by end of this year.
On his part, KCMC Head of Medial Engineering Department, Eng. Dunstan Kanza, elaborated that oxygen production started on the 13th of this month.
The operation has so far produced 670 oxygen cylinders with capacity of 40 litres each.