The gesture by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to acquire certification in the production of oxygen comes as a great relief amid the increasing figures of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
Zambia has grappled with COVID-19 infections and the surge in the cases has created a desperate need for oxygen in hospitals.
The commodity is required at great cost, each patient taking one or two cylinders on a daily basis at K500 per cylinder.
Therefore, KCM's move in working towards getting certification for the commodity produced at one of its plants in Chingola comes as good news.
The KCM oxygen plant is capable of filling 10 by 6.8 cubic metre cylinders of the commodity per hour.
Company chief executive officer Christopher Sheppard reveals that oxygen produced at its 750 tonnes-per-day oxygen plant at the Nchanga Smelter has received initial certification to be used for medical interventions, particularly to enhance oxygen saturation and breathing in patients infected by COVID-19.
We are further informed that oxygen samples delivered for certification from the plant have been given a thumbs-up by the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and passed the analysis at 95.7 and 97.8 per cent, far beyond the required standard for the oxygen needed for medical use.
The outcome from ZABS certifying KCM oxygen fit for use in medical institutions offers a sigh of relief.
KCM has also engaged the ministry of Health to determine how the oxygen will be delivered to health institutions on the Copperbelt and other parts of the country once the Copperbelt region has surplus stock.
We further acknowledge efforts by AFROX Zambia Limited to realign its operations by converting industrial cylinders into medical ones due to the high demand of the life-sustaining commodity.
AFROX has also introduced two shifts which have given the company the capacity to produce 400 cylinders at the Ndola plant daily while 300 extra cylinders will be produced at its Lusaka plant.
This will no doubt help ease the burden of oxygen requirements in the country and, therefore, any contribution to COVID-19 interventions brings hope for recovery.
There is need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19 and these interventions from KCM, AFROX and immediate past Sport, Youth and Child Development minister
Emmanuel Mulenga who has donated 10 per cent of his gratuity to the Ndola Teaching Hospital to procure oxygen cylinders, are indeed commendable in these uncertain times when the country requires a stable supply of oxygen to save lives.