UNICEF develops innovative Oxygen Plant-in-a Box package

UNICEF has developed an innovative Oxygen Plant-in-a Box package in response to help countries rapidly increase their oxygen producing capacity at hospitals and health clinic during the outbreak of Covid-19 Pandemic

Dubbed Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box package, plant package includes everything needed to produce large volumes of medical grade oxygen for patients, including accessories supplied in the right quantities, installation of equipment, and pre-planned maintenance services.

Each plant has the capacity to produce up to 720,000 litres of oxygen per day, capable of supplying the oxygen needs of about 50-60 COVID-19 patients round the clock or more than 100 children with severe pneumonia.

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“Oxygen plants are complex goods that can take six months or longer to design and order,” said Kristoffer Gandrup-Marino, Chief of Product Innovation at UNICEF Supply Division.

“That is why we developed this off-the-shelf package. Pre-designed plants make these products cheaper, and able to arrive in country much, much faster, ultimately meaning we can save more lives at this critical time.”

“The Oxygen Plant-in-a-box will play a crucial role in increasing access to medical oxygen, for COVID-19 patients as well as young children with severe pneumonia  a disease which still kills a child every 39 seconds, despite being preventable and treatable,” said Kristoffer Gandrup-Marino, Chief of Product Innovation at UNICEF Supply Division.

The first four Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box packages have been ordered by UNICEF Uganda and will soon be on their way to health facilities across the country, including in the cities of Masaka, Kabale and Jinja.

Like much of the world, the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients in need of oxygen therapy has far outstripped existing capacity at many facilities in Uganda.

“COVID-19 has put enormous pressure on health care facilities across Uganda, particularly in terms of oxygen production capacity. Without available oxygen we know COVID-19 patients are not surviving who otherwise could be saved,” said Laura Siegrist Fouché, Deputy Representative, Operations, UNICEF Uganda.

“Even major hospitals in the country have not been able to provide enough oxygen in recent months. There have been reports of many patients needing to be taken off oxygen so the scarce supplies could be given to patients in more critical conditions.”

“These plants will be crucial to help the Government meet oxygen needs for COVID-19, with the country needing an estimated 8,000 cylinders of oxygen daily. Long term, we know they will also be able to be integrated into the health system to provide medical care for children with pneumonia, premature newborns, or patients undergoing surgery, saving thousands of lives.”

Many more plants are expected to be ordered by other countries globally within the coming months, with the ACT-A SFF continuing to support equitable access to COVID-19 supplies, including life-saving oxygen