Nigeria Opens Oxygen Generation Units to Help Borno State Health Centers
Two new oxygen-generating units in Nigeria’s northern Borno State will help health centers across the region treat people with COVID-19, pneumonia and other breathing problems.
COVID-19 infections have dropped dramatically from their peak during the original omicron outbreak at the end of 2021, but they have begun to creep up slowly in recent weeks.
Borno State has reported more than 1,600 cases and 44 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The NCDC has shifted from reporting COVID-19 cases every week to reporting them every two weeks.
The new oxygen units replace the single oxygen generator at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, which broke down, Atinuke Fakunle, project manager for the United Nations Office of Projects Services (UNOPS), told Nigeria’s The Daily Trust.
Together, the two facilities will be able to fill more than 200 cylinders per day, Fakunle said.
Without a functioning medical oxygen facility, hospitals and clinics were forced to buy oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators from commercial vendors, which wasn’t sustainable, Fakunle said.
UNOPS donated the $2.3 million for the oxygen-generating project with the help of Nigeria’s North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the government of Japan. The donation includes 23 solar-powered refrigerators.
Bobboi Umar, managing director of the commission, said the new oxygen facilities are part of an ongoing effort to improve health care in the conflict-burdened region. Borno State is the epicenter of extremism by Boko Haram and its offshoot ISWAP, the Islamic State West African Province.
“The NEDC has been working assiduously with partners to make sure our facilities in the health centers across the Northeast are upgraded and improved to guarantee the best possible primary, secondary and tertiary health care for our citizens,” he said during the unveiling of building that houses the two oxygen units.
Along with improved health care, the units also will contribute to the region’s economic growth, Umar added.
The Nigerian government announced a plan in January 2021 to build oxygen plants in every state in the country. The recent opening of the Borno project was the culmination of a 15-month project to fund and construct the effort, which was announced in April 2021.
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