Absa bank Uganda announced a donation to the tune of shs230 million to provide 6,528,000 litres of medical oxygen to four regional referral hospitals.
The donation to the Ministry of Health will boost the capacity of the medical facilities to meet the high requirement for oxygen therapy by patients with severe to critical COVID-19.
The bank has entered into a partnership with Oxylife 2020 (U) Ltd, a subsidiary of Joint Medical Stores to purchase 160 medical oxygen cylinders, related accessories and supply up to 800 cylinder refills to the hospitals. The beneficiary hospitals are Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, Lira Regional Referral Hospital and Jinja Regional Referral Hospital. Each hospital will receive 40 oxygen cylinders.
“We believe this support will supplement government efforts to meet the demand for medical oxygen by hospitals which will be required in both the short and long term as we deal with the pandemic. According to medical professionals, oxygen therapy is the most critical medicine for people with severe COVID-19. It is therefore essential that our hospitals have stable medical oxygen supplies to meet the needs of those who are critically ill and require it,” said Mumba Kalifungwa, the Absa Bank Uganda. Managing Director.
The Minister for Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero applauded the financial institution for the donation.
“We appreciate this donation by Absa Uganda which will strengthen the medical oxygen supply of the beneficiary
hospitals. We welcome opportunities to work together with the private sector to strengthen the national health response to the pandemic,”Dr Aceng said.
Under the partnership, Joint Medical Stores will supply and ensure delivery to the health facilities, provide user training, and free labour on repairs after the manufacturer’s warranty elapses.
“Currently, Uganda’s nationwide medical oxygen production capacity is only about 60% of the projected COVID-19 peak demand. In critical care management terms, this is potentially fatal. To meet the medical oxygen carrier vessel requirement, about 12,300 more oxygen cylinders are needed. Based on medical oxygen patient consumption for COVID-19 patients, this donated oxygen will meet the demand for patients in these hospitals receiving critical care,” said Dr. Bildard Baguma, the Executive Director at the Joint Medical Stores.
Along with COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment, stable supplies of medical oxygen are desperately needed to respond to the pandemic.
According to health experts, the daily consumption of oxygen by COVID-19 patients requiring critical care is between 3 to 7 cylinders per patient.
Uganda is currently facing the second wave of the pandemic that has seen higher infection rates, increased cases requiring hospitalisation and higher fatalities.
“At Absa, we are committed to have a positive impact in society and make a real difference in addressing some of the key challenges facing society. This is what we call ‘Role in society’ and this donation is one of the initiatives under this agenda to address the challenges presented by COVID-19,” Absa Bank’s Kalifungwa said.