The United States (US) government yesterday inaugurated an oxygen plant for the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre (GIDC) at the Ga East Hospital in Accra, to aid management of severe and critical COVID-19 cases.
The plant, which has capacity to generate 250 litres of oxygen per minute, is part of a comprehensive oxygen support package to Ghana to provide life-saving care to patients in intensive care units across the country.
As part of the package, three other oxygen plants are to be installed at the Cape Coast Municipal Hospital, Kumasi South and Tamale West hospitals respectively, later this month.
Similarly, the US is providing 28 high-pressure oxygen concentrators, cylinders and pulse oximeters to health facilities across all 16 regions of the country as it supports the national COVID-19 case management team to conduct training for health staff on identifying and managing critical, severe and moderate cases, deliver home based care and oxygen therapy to patients.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan, at a brief handing over ceremony, also announced the completion and presentation of a $1.5 million “negative pressure” isolation facility to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (GARH).
The 30-bed facility,donated through the US Department of Defence Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid programme, is expected to boost the hospitals capacity to isolate and provide safe care to suspected COVID-19 patients while preventing potential spread of the disease to other patients receiving care at the hospital.
Ms Sullivan said the US support to Ghana’s COVID-19 response re-affirmed the fact that “no nation can act alone in the face a pandemic” and that, it was “not enough to only end the pandemic together but build back a better world that is more prepared to prevent, detect and respond to future biological threats where all people can live safe and healthy lives.”
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf thanked the US government for its immense help to Ghana over the years particularly in the health sector.
According to him, oxygen was essential for the management and treatment of severe COVID-19 cases adding that, the donation by the US government had come in handy.
“COVID-19 and oxygen are like twins. What could be dealt with under normal circumstances with portable oxygen concentrators, for COVID-19, those are ineffective and there has been the need to increase supply of oxygen to our treatment centres,” he said.
The Minister said government was working at expanding infrastructure to accommodate COVID-19 patients across the country saying, “without space medical staff work cannot save lives as expected. Establishing more COVID-19 centres means we will need more equipment and resources and we need more support to materialize this.”
Dr Anthony Ofosu, the Deputy Director-General (DG) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said the Service was leaving no stone unturned in upgrading its human resource while leveraging requisite technologies to provide quality health care.
“We in GHS continue to strongly advocate for hospital ownership of oxygen generating systems and backups with private sector supply of oxygen being the last resort. We intend working towards medical gas piping infrastructure in health facilities to eliminate completely the use of high pressure cylinders by patient’s bedsides which sometimes pose danger to them.”
The Deputy DG added that the GHS was also considering the introduction of a scheme whereby regional health directorate would own oxygen generating plants at identifiable locations, equally accessible to health facilities within their jurisdiction.
‘This will ensure that empty cylinders could be filled up to further boost the services self-sufficiency in oxygen generation and supply to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) and primary health care,” he stated.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH