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Kitgum Turns to Lira Referral Hospital For Oxygen Refill

Bezy Omoya, the senior Hospital Administrator at Kitgum General Hospital says the increasing numbers of covid-19 patients in need of oxygen at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Treatment center has affected the supply of oxygen to other health facilities.
An oxygen tank. Net Photo

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Kitgum General Hospital Management has revealed plans to start refilling medical oxygen cylinders for patients from Lira Regional Referral Hospital.

The move comes as Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is facing an overwhelming demand of oxygen for covid-19 patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit-ICU.

The facility is among some of the government hospitals across the country equipped with an oxygen production plant and serving as the regional treatment centre for covid-19 patients in the Acholi sub-region.

Bezy Omoya, the senior Hospital Administrator at Kitgum General Hospital says the increasing numbers of covid-19 patients in need of oxygen at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Treatment center has affected the supply of oxygen to other health facilities.

He says their recent attempts to get a 100 percent refill of medical oxygen from Gulu Regional Referral Hospital has failed due to the high demand coupled with the occasional breakdown of the oxygen production plant.

//cue in: “This oxygen plant…

Cue out:…filled with oxygen.”//

Omoya says the senior management team of the hospital has now resolved to shift to Lira Regional Referral Hospital for a refill of medical oxygen since the facility is not facing a high oxygen demand.

//cue in: “yesterday we resolved…

Cue out:…or 12 cylinders.”//

He notes that although they don’t have any covid-19 patient in need of oxygen, their facility has continually had high numbers of patients requiring dependence on medical oxygen, especially in the neonatal unit and theatre.

Kitgum General Hospital currently has only five oxygen concentrators in use at the neonates’ unit while five others have broken down and requires about 7.5 million shillings for repair.

Dr James Elima, the Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Director acknowledges the high demand and the consumption rate of medical oxygen mainly by covid-19 patients in critical condition at the hospital ICU.

As of Thursday, statistics obtained by Uganda Radio Network indicates there were a total of 10 COVID -19 patients in critical condition in ICU at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.

Dr Elima revealed that each of the patients in ICU is currently consuming between 60 to 80 litres of oxygen per minute, much higher than patients with other illnesses who consume averagely only one to five litres of oxygen per minute.

He says oxygen production at the Hospital has also been greatly affected by inconsistent power supply adding that their 60 KVA generator can’t run the oxygen plant in case of a power blackout.

// Cue in: “We get problems…

Cue out …produces it optimally.”

Following the high oxygen demand, Dr Elima says health workers employed at the hospital’s oxygen plant have made a sacrifice and doubled their working times from the initial eight hours per day to 20 hours to ensure enough production of oxygen.

// Cue in: “Some of my…

Cue out …to produce oxygen.” //

He says with their sacrifices, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is currently producing 30 to 35 cylinders of oxygen per day and an average of 230 cylinders per week.

Gulu District has registered 2,649 cumulative COVID -19 positive cases and 52 cumulative deaths. Currently, there are 31 patients in critical condition in ICUs in the district with 21 admitted at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor while 10 are at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.

The Minister of Health Designate, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero on Thursday revealed that the country needs up to 8,000 cylinders of Oxygen daily to supplement what is provided at regional referral hospitals.

Uganda is currently experiencing a second wave of covid-19 that has seen high infection rates, with dozens requiring medical oxygen dependence.   A total of 34 people succumbed to covid-19 while 1,584 new cases of contagion were registered in the last 24 hours according to information from the Health Ministry released on Thursday.

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