Nigeria’s First Solarised Medical Oxygen Plant Unveiled In Oyo

Nigeria's First Solarised Medical Oxygen Plant Inveiled In Oyo

The governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, unveiled the first solarised Medical Oxygen Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Plant with level 2 Newborn Unit at the Jericho Specialist Hospital in Ibadan, the state capital.

The PSA medical oxygen plant was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), IHS Towers, the governments of Norway and Canada as well as Bills & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Unveiling the plant, the governor who applauded UNICEF, IHS, and Federal Ministry of Health, said the state used the COVID-19 as a fulcrum to develop the facility, adding that, “Although, no one is praying for another outbreak of COVID-19, but it is always better to prepare and there is no better way to be prepared than to have a facility like this.”

Handing over the projects to the government of Oyo State, UNICEF representative Ms. Cristian Munduate lauded the state for recording a triple milestone towards improving maternal and newborn health care Nigeria. These include the handover of the solarized medical oxygen plant, the Level 2 Newborn Unit and launch of the Oyo State Strategy for the Scale-Up of Medical Oxygen in Health Facilities, Munduate said.

She restated that the three historic event represented a remarkable step forward in their shared commitment to improving maternal and child health in Oyo State and across Nigeria. According to her, the installation of the solarized medical oxygen plant is a groundbreaking achievement as oxygen is a critical life-saving intervention, particularly for newborns and children suffering from pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.

She said, “By harnessing solar power, we ensure reliable and sustainable oxygen supply, even in times of limited electricity. This plant is a beacon of innovation and resilience, promising to save countless lives and provide a model for similar initiatives across the country. Additionally, the Level 2 Newborn Unit established here at Jericho Specialist Hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and staffed by trained healthcare professionals dedicated to providing specialized care for premature and critically ill newborns. This unit will significantly reduce neonatal mortality rates and improve health outcomes for our youngest and most vulnerable population.”

On the launch of Oyo State Strategy for the Scale-Up of Medical Oxygen in Health Facilities, she said the strategy is a comprehensive roadmap designed to ensure that every health facility in the state is equipped with the necessary resources to provide medical oxygen, adding that, “It outlines the steps for capacity building, infrastructure development, supply chain management, and sustainable financing mechanisms. These facilities including the strategy is critical in our efforts to improve health outcomes and is aligned with UNICEF’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

In her welcome address, the Oyo State commissioner for Health, Dr Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi, said the unveiling of the solarized Medical Oxygen Pressure Swing Adsorption Plant in Nigeria, with level 2 Newborn Unit and the Oyo State Strategy for the scale-up of Medical Oxygen in Health Facilities (2024-2028) stand as a testament to the power of collaboration, to dedication, and the impact of collective efforts in addressing critical gaps in healthcare infrastructure.

Ajetunmobi explained that medical oxygen is a lifesaving essential medicine used to treat patients at all levels of the healthcare system from intensive care, to newborn and child health care, anaesthetic, and surgical services to outpatient services. Noting that the clinical indication for oxygen therapy is hypoxaemia (low levels of oxygen in the blood), she added that conditions that can cause Hypoxaemia include bronchial asthma, pneumonia, heart disease, anaemia, sepsis, severe malaria, obstetric complications amongst others. Ajetunmobi further disclosed that Hypoxaemia alone accounts for an estimated 120,000 deaths annually among children in Nigeria.

The commissioner said prompt diagnosis of hypoxaemia and treatment was critical to care and improved patient outcomes, while recalling that at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the federal and state governments in collaboration with donors and development partners ramped up investments to increase access to safe and efficient medical oxygen in the country.

“The strategy for the Scale-up of Medical Oxygen is envisioned to ensure that all patients with hypoxaemia are properly diagnosed and treated with medical oxygen and that no patient dies from hypoxaemia. The availability of high-quality and functional oxygen supply systems will improve equitable access to oxygen and, in so doing, would significantly reduce mortality from hypoxaemiam our society.

“Central to this mission is the care of our tiniest babies who also require medical Oxygen and so the establishment of our newborn unit. This is a level 2 care; 12-cot facility equipped to provide advanced care for small and sick newborns and represents a strategic intervention aimed at improving health outcomes for newborns,” she added.

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