Regional referral hospitals in Uganda are set to manufacture oxygen to meet their medical needs.
Apart from Mulago Hospital, the other regional referral hospitals like Gulu, Arua, Mbarara, Mbale, Jinja and Kabale and other general hospitals, Health Centre IVs and other lower level health facilities are faced with the challenge of having a constant supply of oxygen.
“It is only Mulago Hospital that has an oxygen manufacturing plant and tubing systems that can serve every bed. This is lacking in other regional referral hospitals,” the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Dr Medard Bitekyerezo told officials of ReaniMed Healthcare Systems, in Istanbul, Turkey, last week.
According to Dr Bitekyerezo, Parliament’s Committee of Health is concerned about the cost and availability of medical oxygen in the country and that the purpose of the benchmarking trip to Turkey was to survey options of securing reliable and affordable sources of supply of oxygen for medical use in Uganda. Dr Bitekyerezo explained that the idea is to replicate the oxygen manufacturing systems seen in Turkey with the hope of meeting the demand for oxygen by patients in government and private hospitals, and observed that Turkey has the technology to manufacture and install oxygen-processing plants in every hospital at relatively cheaper costs.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, who is also with the delegation said that the Ministry, working with Parliament and other stakeholders, is trying to see how they can build the capacity of Uganda’s healthcare system so that it can function better.
“Medical gas systems, particularly oxygen, are extremely important in the efficient delivery of health services,” Dr Baryomunsi noted, adding: “one of the weaknesses in Uganda’s systems is that health facilities are unable to provide oxygen and yet it is a resource that is needed in emergency cases.”
He noted that lack of oxygen partly contributes to deaths, which could have been otherwise prevented, and revealed that the Ministry plans to invite the experts to install technologies that will improve the country’s health systems.
Other MPs on the delegation include Dr Patrick Mutono and Betty Aol Ocan.