Government introduces state-of-the-art oxygen generators to replace cylinders

Uganda's Ministry of Health has pioneered state-of-the-art oxygen generators to replace oxygen cylinders in hospitals for cheaper and convenient emergency medical administration.

Oxygen generator

The oxygen generator captures air from the hospital environment, compresses it and separates the gases in the air before supplying high-purity medical oxygen to patients. One oxygen cylinder is equivalent to 14 oxygen cylinders. And, unlike cylinders, this new South Korean technology is portable and has a longer life span of 15 years secure against explosions.

It is also low maintenance, requiring repair and cleaning after every three months.

Commenting on the new technology yesterday, Silvio Abiria, the principal nurse officer at Kawolo General Hospital in Lugazi, where one of the generators was introduced, said the machine has already reduced expenditure and improved timely administration.

The oxygen from the machine has already been connected to the wards. It is reducing the costs of getting these cylinders that we were previously going out to buy. It is already improving the quality of care,” Abiria said.

However, Haruna Wamala, the hospital administrator at the same hospital, said that it is too early to establish the efficiency of the oxygen generator since its installation a few weeks ago.

The commissioner for infrastructure at Ministry of Health, George Otim said that the oxygen generator is available to all regional referral hospitals apart from Yumbe.

Yumbe General Hospital has recently been upgraded to a regional referral hospital, so we are still completing the installation process,” Otim said.

Compared to the oxygen generator, oxygen cylinders are limited in resources and expensive to maintain. For example; a cylinder only pumps oxygen for two and a half hours and costs about Shs50,000 to refill and, depending on transportation, the price could be higher.

This inefficiency was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when patients lost their lives due to low-capacity cylinders.

One of the biomedical engineers at the Ministry of Health, Tadeo Byabagambi, said they are waiting for the government to increase the ministry funds in order to make oxygen generators available countrywide.

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