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MOH Promises to Install Oxygen Plant At Entebbe Isolation Centre

Muhammed Mubiru, the Principal Hospital Administrator at Entebbe Hospital Director says the hospital has over 120 patients currently. 40 of these are in critical condition and thereby need oxygen. As result, the hospital needs over 70 oxygen cylinders daily to meet the patients' needs. But the hospital's oxygen plant generates 35 cylinders a day.
A hygienist cleans inside the oxgyen plant at Entebbe Hospital

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The Ministry of Health has promised to install an oxygen plant at Entebbe National Isolation Centre by September this year.

Eng. George Otim, the commissioner of health infrastructure at the health ministry, says the plant will be expected to generate at least 300 cylinders of oxygen a day. The plant will be installed at the isolation centre located in Manyago, about 2km from Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital.

Eng. Otim says that the new plant will supply oxygen to the isolation centre, Entebbe hospital, Kajjansi health centre IV and other facilities within the region.

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While the ministry installed an oxygen plant at Entebbe Hospital at the end of last year, Eng. Otim says it can only generate a maximum of 35 cylinders a day. Therefore, the oxygen plant at the isolation centre will be timely since the country is grappling with the second wave of COVID-19, where critically ill patients consume between 5 to 7 cylinders of oxygen a day. Oxygen is a lifesaving commodity, without which a patient may develop complications or even die.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson at the health ministry however says the installation of the oxygen plant depends on how the available funds will be allocated.

Though he does not disclose how much the project could cost, some of the oxygen plants installed have cost over shillings 900million. These plants include the seven that reportedly cost a total of shillings 6.4bilion. Four were installed at Mulago hospital, one at Entebbe and another at Kayunga General Hospital last year. Last month, the Global Fund gave Uganda shillings 25 billion to install 7 regional oxygen plants including one in Kampala to supply the Greater Metropolitan Area.

Eng. Otim says the ministry has been advised to install an oxygen plant project at the Entebbe isolation centre because it will save time and transport costs to supply oxygen for the centre and facilities within Entebbe and surrounding areas. A reliable source adds that the oxygen plant project could cost shillings one billion.

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Muhammed Mubiru, the Principal Hospital Administrator at Entebbe Hospital Director says the hospital has over 120 patients currently with 40 of these being in critical condition and thereby need oxygen.

He adds that the isolation centre will have 6 Intensive Care Unit beds and 8 High Dependency Unit beds and therefore will also need regular oxygen supply for critical patients with highly  infectious diseases such as COVID-19.  The centre will therefore have to get oxygen cylinders from the hospital to meet patients' needs.

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Mubiru says thanks to the health ministry, State House and several organisations, the hospital currently gets additional cylinders from Oxygas, Roofings Ltd whose filling stations are in Kyambogo and Namanve, over 40km away from the hospital. Despite these additional cylinders, Mubiru says there is still inadequate oxygen supply.

Eng. Otim is convinced that once the oxygen plant is installed at the isolation centre, it will thereby  supply the much needed number of cylinders in the hospital.

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It costs between shillings 35,000 to shillings 45,000 to refill an oxygen cylinder in private oxygen plants.