Namibia: Govt Ramps Up Oxygen Supply

Government has scaled up its efforts to procure sufficient medical oxygen in order to meet the growing demand in local hospitals as Covid-19 new infections continue to rise sharply across the country.

President Hage Geingob yesterday also said the Cabinet at its meeting yesterday discussed the issue of life-saving oxygen in local hospitals, prompting him to inspect the oxygen storage facilities at the Katutura state hospital yesterday to acquaint himself with the

situation.

At the Katutura hospital, a 20-ton tank was commissioned by Afrox last week and has been used to supply oxygen to Covid-19 patients hospitalised at the 74-bed isolation ward at the hospital.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday also announced a 21-ton oxygen storage tank has also been procured from South Africa and will arrive in the country soon.

"For the next few days, the issue of oxygen problem will not be there anymore because these trucks will be delivering on a weekly basis," he said.

"Let us not always work towards solving a problem in the hospital. Let us work on solving the problem before it reaches the hospital. It is difficult to deal with and very expensive."

African Gas Solutions has also built an oxygen storage tank at a cost of N$2.8 million, which was paid by the Social Security Commission. The tank will provide 370 litres of oxygen per minute to the Windhoek Central Hospital's Covid-19 ward. Shangula also announced government was doing everything possible to ensure more beds become available to accommodate patients requiring hospitalisation across the country. Shangula said the ministry has created additional capacity, which will see another 200 beds made available throughout the country. This includes a 40-bed tent hospital at the Katutura hospital. "At the moment, we are creating another 40 beds in Oshakati. Onandjokwe has already the building which is just being furnished. Rundu has 20 ICU beds for Covid-19. We are also looking at Keetmanshoop. The coastal towns in terms of beds is not much of a concern at the moment," said Shangula. The old Namibia Institute for Pathology (NIP) building is also being turned into an isolation facility to treat Covid-19 patients. Work on the building already started on 8 June.

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