Malawi needs K60bn to scale up oxygen equipment supply

The Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda Kandodo says Malawi needs K60.92billion ($76,156) to scale up oxygen equipment and supply availability over the next five years.

Chiponda was speaking on Tuesday during the joint launch of Malawi National Medical Oxygen Ecosystem Roadmap for 2021 to 2026 and Emergency & Critical Care Strategy for 2021 to 2031.

Chiponda granting journalists an interview

She said the amount includes the cost for installing and maintaining pressure swing absorption oxygen plants, increasing biomedical engineers and technicians as well as equipping health facilities with a standard list of equipment and supplies.

“Oxygen is an essential medicine used to treat a variety of health conditions which if untreated result in high mortality and morbidly,” she said.

It is a critical component of health service provision for maternal and new born health, child health, prehospital and acute care, surgical care and treatment of infectious respiratory diseases such as Covid 19, she explained.

Chiponda further said with the surge in oxygen demand from Covid 19, the country’s insufficient systems to supply and distribute oxygen have been further strained resulting in even less availability of oxygen.

WHO Resident Representative, Dr Janet Kayita, talking to journalists in Lilongwe

To address the challenges, she said, the country has commissioned the roadmap to reduce morbidity and mortality from lack of enough oxygen in blood and ensure oxygen is available to treat all clinical cases that require oxygen.

The roadmap will build on existing oxygen work in the public and private sectors, supports the optimization of medical oxygen investments and guide a future investments from government, partners and private sector actors.

According to her, the roadmap proposes national oxygen system improvements through a set of strategic objectives and interventions.

The roadmap will compliment the Ministry’s Critical Care Strategy which is a framework for implementing emergency and critical care services for the next ten years.

In her remarks, World Health Resident Representative, Janet Kayita, commended Malawi for taking a right decision to reduce maternal and morbidity in the country.

“Most diseases can be prevented and treated therefore communities and the nation will benefit more if well used,” she said.

The two strategies if well implemented will help put the country on track to attain the universal health coverage, she said.

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