The government has moved in to address the shortage of medical gas in public hospitals that handle Covid 19 patients.
Through the Presidential Taskforce in Covid 19, the government has engaged the country’s main gas supplier AFROX Malawi Limited to withdraw gas cylinders from other companies, for use in hospitals.
Indeed we have that challenge that is why we went to meet with AFROX we had a meeting with the management, we inspected their plant in Blantyre and issues of capacity the main problem is availability of cylinders,” Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda disclosed.
Currently, AFROX is modifying more than 100 gas cylinders to oxygen cylinders in order to save lives in hospitals.
Commenting on the issue Managing Director for AFROX Bonface Chima, admitted that the firm is under immense pressure to meet the growing demand and they are working on securing enough cylinders to be used in the hospitals.
“What we are doing now is we are looking at what we have on the ground, we are looking at our cylinders which is what almost all gas companies are doing now. We are trying to prioritise supplying medical oxygen, so we have prioritised medical production so we are converting the cylinders from technical to medical cylinders,” Chima said.
It has been established that medical gas has become scarce in all the country’s major referral hospitals and other Covid 19 treatment centres.
This is despite some facilities such as Kamuzu Central Hospital-KCH in Lilongwe, having oxygen plants.
The demand for oxygen is growing as the country continues to record more new cases of Covid 19 on a daily basis.
The development has led to panic among guardians of Covid 19 patients as they run up and down looking for gas across the country.
The health Minister has since given assurance that oxygen will be available in the hospitals adequately upon completion of the conversion process of the cylinders by the gas suppliers.
Apart from the conversion process, AFROX reveals that it is recalling cylinders from non-medical clients to serve the life saving purpose.