WORLD Uganda lacks medical oxygen as hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19


Uganda lacks medical oxygen as hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19


17:37, June 15, 2021

KAMPALA, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Uganda is running short of medical oxygen as the east African country grapples with the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, an official has said.

A nurse prepares a dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at Mulago referral hospital in Kampala, on the first day of a vaccination campaign on March 10, 2021. (File photo: AFP)

Diana Atwine, permanent secretary at the ministry of health, said in an interview with local media on Monday that there was a high demand of oxygen due to the surge in numbers of COVID-19 patients in High Dependency Units and Intensive Care Units (ICU) across the country.

"Yes, it is true we have shortage of oxygen in the country, and that is why we are trying to get more oxygen plants," said Atwine.

Local media reported over the weekend that medical oxygen was running out in several districts across the country amid the second wave of the novel coronavirus in the country.

"We are working on the procurement of more (oxygen) plants, possibly 10 that can give us huge amounts of oxygen at a go. But that is quite a journey," said Atwine.

Meanwhile, Godfrey Baterana, executive director of Mulago National Referral Hospital in the capital, said the demand of oxygen by COVID-19 patients had outpaced oxygen plants manufacturing capacity.

"You find (a COVID-19) patient requiring 70 liters of oxygen per minute and yet a normal patient in a normal ICU requires between one and ten," said Baterana.

As of Monday, Uganda had registered 63,099 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 434 deaths, according to official data.

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