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Mozambique Receives Oxygen Plant Amid COVID-19 Battle

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To help save the lives of some of Mozambique’s sickest COVID-19 patients, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) donated an oxygen production plant in late April.

Known as a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plant, it was installed at Monapo District Hospital in the northern Nampula Province. The plant can produce the oxygen needed to simultaneously treat 25 severe COVID-19 patients and up to 150 patients with mild to moderate oxygen needs.

The $1 million investment included the PSA plant, materials and construction to ensure that the hospital could use it. USAID also provided technical assistance to operate the facility.

“This new oxygen plant is a physical symbol of what the U.S. and Mozambican partnership can build together,” USAID Deputy Mission Director Martin McLaughlin said at a handover ceremony. “We have invested more than $94 million in COVID assistance nationwide, including here in Nampula, to build the capacity of health workers and strengthen the health system. We will continue to work together because a healthy, resilient Mozambique leads to a healthy, resilient world.”

The PSA plant produces medical grade oxygen and can fill oxygen cylinders that can be distributed to other medical facilities in the district.

The donation was timely, as Mozambique experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases shortly after the PSA plant was donated. On May 25, the country reported 26 new cases, the highest 24-hour surge since late February, according to Club of Mozambique newspaper. Most of the cases were reported in southern provinces.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi warned the country not to become complacent about the pandemic during a televised speech in April.

“We need to continue implementing health measures to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the virus,” Nyusi said. “Masks continue to be mandatory in all closed venues and public transports.”

The U.S. has helped strengthen Mozambique’s COVID-19 response since the pandemic hit. In September 2021, the U.S. donated 15 state-of-the-art oxygen concentrators to help treat COVID-19 patients at eight hospitals in Nampula Province. The machines provide continuous, low-flow oxygen to patients suffering from low levels in their blood.

USAID provided technical training teams and funded the necessary rehabilitation in each facility to safely connect the equipment. The total cost of the machines, training and clinic rehabilitation was about $60,000.

The oxygen concentrators are used at health facilities in Nacala Porto, Nacala Velha, Monapo, Ilha de Moçambique, Meconta, Malema, Mecoburi and Mossuril. The machines create a potentially unlimited local source of oxygen that is up to 95% pure by pulling it from the air and filtering out other substances.

As Mozambique struggled to cope with a third wave of COVID-19 infections in July 2021, the U.S. donated $600,000 worth of medical equipment and funding to hire more nurses and physicians to staff coronavirus treatment centers.

The donation included personal protective equipment for health care workers, cardiorespiratory monitors, oximeters and devices that support the ongoing use of U.S.-donated ventilators. The delivery was made to the capital city, Maputo, in southern Mozambique.

The previous month, the U.S. invested $320,000 in a program that provides solar power to 92 health facilities in Sofala, a coastal province.

USAID awarded the Power Africa grant to renewable energy company SolarWorks! Mozambique to install off-grid solar-powered electrical systems at rural health facilities that serve about 138,000 people in Sofala, where 90% of health facilities don’t have regular access to electricity. The grant covered operations and maintenance costs for one year.

In August 2020, the U.S. donated 50 ventilators to the country. Produced in the United States by Zoll Medical Corp., the ventilators are small and deployable, and can be used to treat children or adults.

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